From selling drugs as a pre-teen in the streets of Brooklyn, New York to becoming a hip-hop mogul. Now his next business venture is becoming the face of a sports agency. Yes, I am talking about Shawn Carter, also know as Jay-Z. Why would an extremely successful rapper venture into the realm of player representation you ask? Well, it is still unclear what motivates Jay-Z to become a sports agent, but regardless of his motives, Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports are in the sports industry for the long haul, unlike fellow rapper, Master P.
With Jay-Z’s introduction into the world of player representation, there may be a new era of sports agents on the rise. What does Jay-Z in the sports agent industry actually mean for current agents, what exactly are Jay-Z’s goals, and how successful will he be as a sports agent? Only time will tell, but I will attempt to answer these questions.
In a recent interview with The Breakfast Club on New York’s Power 105.1 radio station, Jay-Z called out all of the current sports agents, calling them lazy. Jay-Z stated that he will change how current sports agents work for them to continue to be successful.
“Me coming, that’s a problem for them, cause now they have to go to work,” said Jay-Z. “Now they have to wake up, now they have to do things. So they have to do things. So they don’t want me around because now they have to do something for these athletes.”
Is Jay-Z completely off with his comments? I think not. Jay-Z has already caused a giant splash within the sports agency community by stealing MLB slugger Robinson Cano and NBA superstar Kevin Durant from their respective agents, Scott Boras and Rob Pelinka. Both agents being extremely successful in their particular field has not slowed their clients from jumping ship to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency. Roc Nation Sports also represents New York Jets’ rookie quarterback Geno Smith, former Notre Dame and rookie WNBA star, Skylar Diggins, and New York Giants’ standout wide receiver Victor Cruz. It is clear that Roc Nation Sports is aiming for high-end clients with major marketing potential. Getting a brief statement from NFL agent, Blake Baratz, he told me he was unsure of Jay-Z’s motives for becoming an agent, but “there is enough guys in the league not to have an effect” on the current agents. Only time will tell if Jay-Z’s approach of luring superstar clients to Roc Nation will prove successful.
In the aforementioned interview, Jay-Z made it clear what his goals were as a sports agent.
“The bigger goal is for all artists to get their just due. Not to get half-ass agents or people who rob them or people who don’t care about their finances. They’re just taking whatever is going to get them a check.”
Most sports agents claim that they want to help athletes with their finances, but few actually prevail on their claims. Anyone who has watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 “Broke” will know that a vast majority of professional athletes go broke after they retire from their respective sport, so it is no surprised that Jay-Z wants to protect his clients’ finances. Although Jay-Z does not have a college degree in financial advising, let along a high school diploma, he does know a little about financial sustainability since his net worth is $475 million. That’s right, almost a half of billion dollars in net worth, so Jay-Z know a little about getting an artists’ just due, even without any formal education.
Jay-Z is not the first rapper to try to break into the sports industry as a sports agent. Percy Miller, also known as Master P, started “No Limit Sports” back in 1998 and most notably signed former NFL running back, Ricky Williams. To say the least, No Limit Sports was not successful. However, I feel that Jay-Z will be able to change the negative stigma of entertainers attempting to become successful within the sports agency industry. Jay-Z has had a vast amount of entrepreneurial achievements as a music mogul by surrounding himself around successful artists and businessmen in order to build his brand and status as a global icon. At the same time, Jay-Z has been able to take what he has learned and help artists like Rihanna, Kanye West, and most recently J. Cole become successful in their own respects. Taking what he has learned and accomplished during his 17-year music career, Jay-Z should be able to replicate his mentorship towards other artists to entertainers in their own respect, professional athletes. Similar to his music career, Jay-Z has surrounded himself with successful figures in the sports industry, including Creative Artists Agency as a partner with Roc Nation Sports. Although it is in a new venue, the transition to success should be no different for Jay-Z.
Only time will tell if Jay-Z will be able to create the “new rules” within the sports industry that he raps about in this recent album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, or if he will follow in the footsteps of fellow rapper, Master P and leave a bad impression of rappers as sports agents. What are your thoughts of Jay-Z as a sports agent? Will he command the respect like he does within the music industry, or will he foul out of the sports industry?