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Jay-Z talks about representing athletes

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: July 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm •  Published: July 11, 2013

Kevin Durant raised eyebrows when he recently became the first NBA player to sign with Roc Nation Sports, an upstart sports agency headed by music mogul Jay-Z.

Durant’s decision to partner with Jay-Z led to confusion and concern for many. Even more have questioned Jay-Z’s involvement in athlete representation.

Durant recently explained to The Oklahoman why he partnered with the Jay-Z, but Jay-Z hadn’t been heard from about his latest business venture. Until speaking about it during an appearance this week on Power 105.1 in New York City.

You can listen to Jay-Z’s entire interview here. The sports agency discussion begins about 10 minutes, 15 seconds in.

Here’s a transcript of Jay-Z discussing the role and goal of his new agency.

Q: For you moving into sports management, does it feel to you like a lot of people don’t want you to succeed because they’re saying that’s a really tough business? There’s a lot of agents that feel like, ‘Well, what does Jay-Z know about sports management? He hasn’t done this and he hasn’t done that.”
A: Yeah, but they have that thing, that belief that you can only do one thing. We don’t have that. We’re not inflicted with that disease. You know, I can walk and chew gum. It’s insane to even say that. ‘What does he know about sports?’ It’s like, uh, everything. And more than you. And as far as business, those guys, they’ve been sitting around just doing the typical thing. Sometimes they acquire an artist, however they acquire the artist, I don’t want to do that to them, however they acquire the artist, I mean, the athlete, they get them and then they knock on the same doors. They go to Nike, they do the contract and then they sit back and they don’t do anything else. So they’ve been sitting around for 20, 30 years just not doing anything. So me coming, that’s a problem for them because now they have to go to work. Now they have to wake up. Now they have to do things. So they don’t want me to be around because now they have to do something for these athletes. And my whole thing is, for the most part, I’m going to do more for the athlete than they’re going to do for me, like, at the end of the day. But I do these because it’s an extension of the bigger goal. The bigger goal is for all artists to get their just due. Not to get half-assed agents or people who rob them, or people who don’t care about their finances. They don’t even care about them. That’s why those guys go broke in four years. It’s, like, a shame. It’s like the average is three to four years. We’re talking about guys who are signing for $90 million, $86 million are broke in four years. That’s terrible money management. But these guys don’t care. They’re just taking whatever is going to get them a check and they’re not even worried about all that. We’re doing all of that. We’re almost do that better. We’re almost a better money management firm and then agent.

Yeah, that’s been an ongoing problem with sports, with athletes going broke. NFL, NBA.
Yeah, that’s their representation not caring about anything but their check.

But then you’ll have people who’ll say what does Jay-Z know about money.

Is that something you do for all your artists as well is kind put them through some type of financial training as well and set them up in that way?
Yes. Yeah.

When Master P was here, he said he would never do the sports agency thing again because athletes are too spoiled and it’s really no money in the thing. But I hear you saying it’s a bigger purpose. You want to teach people how to keep their money basically.
Yeah. Absolutely. Not that it’s all like this philanthropic thing. It’s a business as well. But, again, I’m going to contribute just as much or more to an athletes career than they can ever give me.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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