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Jay-Z talks up the Nets in GQ; concerts commemorated in 24-minute mini-doc; viral encounter with "adorable old lady"

Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov have to be smiling. They have a superstar talking up the Nets and the arena, in GQ's December issue, items 11-15 on a 52-item punch list:
Join Jay-Z on the Brooklyn Nets Bandwagon
The Nets' co-owner on the five coolest things about his new franchise.—Mark Anthony Green
The jerseys: "All-black everything! And the lettering—the typography reminds you of the old subway. It's classic."
The court: "It's herringbone, which is crazy. In fact, the NBA fought me on it. They said if it gets shot on TV, the lines will mess up the screen. I'm like, this ain't 1988—we've got HD. We ended up taking it to the old arena in New Jersey to test it."
Barclays Center: "It's beautiful, amazing, really well-done. It's just classy. It's still an arena, so there's only so much you can do. But for an arena, it's actually really beautiful."
Brooklyn: "Well, Brooklyn is cool; that's like the definition. There's nothing on earth cooler than Brooklyn."
Jay-Z: "Me? Ha, I am Brooklyn."
Devin Kharpertian of the Brooklyn Game agrees Jay's "probably right," but suggests some "other cool things about the Brooklyn Nets."

Make no mistake; Twitter trends from the London-based fan engagement consultancy We Play (via The Brooklyn Game) show that Jay-Z is the biggest thing about the Nets.

Celebrating the concerts

Then there's the new 24-minute documentary short, Where I'm From, via Jay-Z's Life+Times channel, taking "an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the creation of JAY Z’s Barclays Center opening concerts," including rehearsals, set planning, and Jay just enjoying that new arena.



"How many jobs were brought to Brooklyn," enthuses one of Jay-Z's associates, leaving the impression that the opening of the arena, in itself, justifies all the (unmentioned) public support.

Young Guru declares that Jay-Z's success is inspirational, coming from the Marcy projects and rising so high. "That's really what this is about. It's a celebration, more or less, of making it."

Indeed, Jay looks giddily out at 560 State Street across Flatbush Avenue, where he says he used to live--or, as explained in New York State of Mind, served as his "stash spot."

As I commented, "Jay's a good storyteller, but actually the Brooklyn Dodgers did *not* aim to build on the site where the arena sits. They wanted to build across the street, now the site of the Atlantic Center mall."

Yup, we see the Jackie Robinson jersey handover--to the crowd, apparently, not to Robinson's widow. The circle is fulfilled, or is it?

Going viral

Everything Jay touches turns to gold, it seems; he shows up and the construction site, and there goes the arena. And we forgive him his street lingo. (Actually, that's part of his appeal.)

The piece de resistance: Jay-Z takes the subway, accompanied by camera crew and bodyguards, and just happens to sit next to Ellen Grossman, a kindly New York-ish lady of a certain age who asks politely if he's a celebrity, doesn't recognize him or the name "Jay," but lights up when he finally pronounces "Jay-Z."

That has gone seriously viral--Jay's saluted for his down-to-earth style. Then again, as a few people pointed out, he didn't ask Grossman about herself, and she's no slouch as an artist.

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