How Jay-Z pitched LeBron James on the Nets in 2010
Part of the narrative comes from Avery Johnson, who was the newly appointed head coach of the Nets in 2010. According to Johnson, he was very impressed with how Jay-Z tried to convince LeBron to make the big move to New Jersey and, ultimately, Brooklyn:
“It was a circus show,” said Johnson, via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “We were very excited. But in all honesty, we weren’t ready as an organization. And we were playing in Newark for the next two years — not New York. But Jay-Z really gave a great pitch. He appealed to their friendship and sold New York.”
Jay-Z did not stop there, however, in his efforts as a Nets pitchman. Apparently, the renowned rapper even overstayed his welcome just to be able to get some one-on-one time with James:
Jay-Z stayed after the others left and had a 15-minute private meeting with James, which overlapped with the scheduled arrival of the Knicks. As Jay-Z’s SUV left the building, he passed the arriving New York contingent that included owner James Dolan and general manager Donnie Walsh, who was in a wheelchair because of a recent surgery.
At the end of the day, LeBron opted to take his talents to South Beach. Jay-Z may have given a mind-blowing pitch while also appealing to James on a personal level, but perhaps LeBron had already made up his mind at that point.