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LeBron James friendship with Jay-Z is X factor for N.J. Nets

jamesLEBRON052210_optBY ALICIA CRUZ
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Though Soon-to-be free agent LeBron James has hinted about the strong edge his hometown team has at signing him in July, others are surmising that his friendship with music mogul and part owner of the New Jersey Nets, Jay-Z, just may sway the in-demand hoops star to become a Brooklynite versus a Buckeye.

HipHopwired.com reported that during an interview with Rolling Stone, Jay-Z whose real name is Shawn Carter, spoke about his feelings on James playing for the Nets and what pull, if any, he has on the NBA headliner's final decision.

"That's his decision," Carter said. "We're friends — we've still gotta hang out! I don't want to convince somebody to do something, then have to see him and say, 'Uh, yeah, we're 4-30 ...sorry.'"

With further speculation that the Knicks are one of the teams vying for James, it has been reported that they may want the Yankees help in recruiting the starlet (who is a big Yankees fan and even owns a special pair of Yankee-styled Nikes).

However, Yankees team captain, Derek Jeter said, "It wouldn't make sense." In a theoretical synopsis, Jeter told ESPNNewYork.com that if he were going to be recruited by one of the Los Angeles (baseball) teams and Magic Johnson called him, "How would a basketball player help (with that decision)?" Jeter said.

"I don't play basketball. I have nothing to do with that."

Jeter, who told ESPN that he has met James, added, "You don't have to sell winning in New York."

Carter, who attended high school in nearby Trenton, told Rolling Stone magazine that ultimately, the final say about James coming to play for his team lies in the hands of new Nets owner Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the richest man in Russia and the 39th richest man in the world according to the 2010 Forbes list.

Sonny Vacarro, a former sports marketing executive, has long had his opinion about Carter's level of influence over James. In an interview with reporter Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Vacarro said, "knowing LeBron and knowing the world as I see it, the most appetizing thing would not be the New York Knicks for him, but the Nets with Jay-Z," said Vacarro.

The ties that bind the rapper and hoop star go back to James' days at Vaccaro's high school All-American camp in New Jersey. It was reported that Carter visited James there and the two men began forming a strong friendship bond.

"If LeBron has a role model in life, it's Jay-Z. I've never been around a more perfect match of young genius. What would be better than these two kids in New York?"

As for his thoughts on James leaving Cleveland, Vacarro said the NBA star would have to "look long and hard about leaving Cleveland."

"Dan Gilbert and the city have embraced him. They've done everything they can to make a championship-type trade. Danny Ferry (former general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers) did a good job with that.

With the NBA free agency opening in less than a month on July 1, James' decision has fans and media eagerly anticipating his decision.

Fans should look out for the June 24 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, which is set to feature a first-of-its-kind peel-off front cover with the second layer displaying a photo of Jay-Z underneath.

 

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