Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports Signs Kevin Durant
UPDATE: The Oklahoma City Thunder forward follows New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano to Jay-Z's sports agency.
Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports agency will be adding another high-profile athlete to its roster. Kevin Durant, a forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, will be leaving his current representation to sign with Jigga's company, according to an ESPN report. Durant told those in his inner circle that he wants to build his brand, which is why he will sign with Roc Nation Sports, according to the report.
Given that Durant signed an $85 million extension with the Thunder in 2010 that lasts through the 2015-16 season, he is not seeking a new contract. Thus, if Jigga's firm handles only marketing opportunities for Durant, Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports might not be in violation of NBA rules that prohibit an individual from owning a piece of a team and representing a player, ESPN says.
Durant already stands as one of the NBA's most marketable players. The University of Texas at Austin product has endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade and Sprint, among others.
Even though the Durant intends to sign with Roc Nation Sports, a company's spokesman told ESPN that Durant is not a client. Contrary to reports and according to ESPN, Jay-Z has not sold his ownership stake in the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and the ESPN article said it is not clear whether or not Jay-Z will sign Durant before or after he sells his share of the team.
If he signs with Roc Nation Sports, Durant would follow New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins to Jay-Z's sports agency. The Shock is an WNBA franchise.
Even though Roc Nation Sports has signed a number of high profile athletes, it is also under investigation. The NFL Players Association is looking into the company's recruitment of Smith. The union wants to gather information about the extent to which Jay-Z was involved in signing Smith. Smith posted a picture of himself with Jay-Z on Instagram during his agent recruitment process and an NFL rule prohibits agents from having colleagues or friends who aren't NFLPA-certified agents present for recruiting meetings.
"I was in those meetings," Smith's adviser John Thornton was quoted by CBS as saying, "and Jay-Z connected with him on many levels." Thornton later said he was misquoted.
UPDATE: Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports has signed Kevin Durant to its roster, according to missinfo.tv. Durant, a forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, becomes the first NBA player to sign to Roc Nation Sports. “Grateful for this opportunity with Roc Nation Sports," Kevin Durant wrote on his Instagram account. "It’s go time.”
Jay-Z became a licensed NBA agent last week.