ESPN reports the New Jersey Nets received a $50,000 fine due to Jay-Z’s presence in a University of Kentucky locker room after the men’s team clenched a Final Four birth. Jay-Z is a minority owner of the Nets—his share is reportedly worth 1.5%. As a team owner, minority or otherwise, Jay-Z’s presence violated league rules that prohibit contact with players that still have remaining intercollegiate basketball eligibility.
Kentucky’s men’s team had not been to Final Four in 13 years, and Jay-Z met with the team after their 76-69 victory over North Carolina.
“Even though the circumstances of the visit seemed harmless enough, with Kentucky players clearly more excited about meeting a world-famous rap mogul as opposed to a part-time NBA team executive, Nets officials were expecting a fine based on what happened to Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge in 2007,” explained ESPN’s Marc Stein.
If any of UK’s players were influenced by the visit prior to declaring for the NBA draft lottery, the Nets don’t have a pick anyway. They traded a pair of first round picks to the Utah Jazz earlier this year to acquire point guard Deron Williams.