NEW YORK – The Brooklyn Nets are losing one of their biggest names as they prepare for the playoffs.
Jay-Z owned just a little piece of the team, but was a large presence when the franchise changed homes and identities this season.
The rap mogul is selling his stake in the Nets so he can become certified as a player agent, possibly before the end of the season. The process is underway, with paperwork already filed, a person with knowledge of the details said Wednesday.
NBA rules prevent anyone from being involved in ownership and player representation.
Yahoo Sports, which first reported Jay-Z’s plans, said his Roc Nation company has partnered with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and hopes to compete for players in this June’s NBA draft.
Jay-Z owns less than 1 percent of the Nets, but has had a major impact with the franchise’s move to his hometown. He had input and in some cases complete control of everything from the interior of the $1 billion Barclays Center to the design of the team’s black-and-white uniforms, which he debuted himself during his run of eight sold-out concerts in September that served as the debut of the arena.
A spokesman for Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, did not respond to a message.
Friendly with LeBron James and a number of sports superstars, Jay-Z could quickly make Roc Nation a force in the agency field. The company recently signed New York Yankees All-Star Robinson Cano. The Nets hoped his reputation and friendships would help them three years ago when James led a loaded field of free agents, but the Nets, then playing in Newark, failed to land any of them.
Jay-Z attended only a handful of games this season, but his affiliation with the franchise provided a necessary buzz for its first season in Brooklyn. He sat in his courtside seat next to wife Beyonce in November when the Nets beat the Knicks in their first matchup as New York rivals, providing the trash talk afterward when he tweeted that the city was under new management.
The Nets have clinched their first playoff berth since 2007 and are in position to have home-court advantage in their first-round series.