Jay Z says selling drugs helped him prepare to be a sports agent

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Jay Z lacks the educational credentials to ever be officially certified by the NFLPA to represent players in their contract talks.  But Jay Z nevertheless believes he has the experience to qualify him to represent football players and other athletes.

The experience, of course, comes from engaging in an illegal enterprise.

“I know about budgets.  I was a drug dealer,” Jay Z (a/k/a Shawn Carter) tells Vanity Fair.  “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up.  Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash — those were the businesses back then.  Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life.”

Some players will be drawn to that whiff of danger mixed with a helping of street cred.  And Jay Z will do fairly well in the agent business if he merely attracts some of the thousands of pro athletes to hire him.

But understanding budgets and having a basic degree of resourcefulness doesn’t translate into the expertise necessary to dissect labor deals and salary caps and comparable contracts and all of the other nuances that come from giving players not just competent assistance but exceptional representation.

Plenty of skills transfer from one business to the next; plenty don’t.  For Jay Z, the challenge will be to admit that he knows what he doesn’t know, and to rely on folks who can fill the gaps.

139 responses to “Jay Z says selling drugs helped him prepare to be a sports agent

  1. So let me get this straight… NFL will allow players to represent themselves, but they won’t allow someone who has as much business expertise as jay-z to represent them?

    ILLUMINATIIIII!

  2. Please. And I am tired of him picking and choosing what to include when it came to his past. He overstates so many things, and hides other facts that cast him in a not so positive light.

  3. I never cease to be amazed by what I read here.

    There are probably kids out there who think he is the real deal.

  4. Sounds to me that his experience qualifies him to be an inmate. Grunting into a microphone doesn’t qualify one as a genius.

  5. What a fantastic image for the guy who has usurped his way into being the NFLPA’s posterboy of agents. How do you like them crystals? Maybe next time all the smart bossmen of the league and it’s partners won’t get in his way of whatever he wants to make out of this shiny new deep-pocketed NFL oyster he stumbled upon.

  6. How can they let a former drug dealer be a sports agent; and they wonder why athletes do drugs? This is just STUPID!

  7. You know I have read quite a few of your articles about Jay Z being unqualified to be a sports agent. However what has not been spoken about is what qualifies him to BE a sports agent.

    He may not have the credentials that the NFL requires. I have met a few agents in my day and the one thing they have all said is that it’s not as hard as people might think. The main thing they all said is you need to have the athlete i.e the drug i.e. the commodity. The second thing you need to have is the market or user i.e the Teams i.e. the League (NBA, NFL, MLB).

    If a guy can go from moving weight (drugs)on the street corner, turn himself into a multumillionaire through hard work and savvy business moves become a part owner (I know 1 % but it’s 1% more than any of us own) of a basketball team and arena and now wants the put that same ethic to work in the professional sports league whats the problem? The problem is that some people might not like the message. However the message is real. Would you rather that he stills sells the drugs? Or that he did and decided to go a a different/better path to make money?

  8. NFL Player: “So, I have a college education / some college, and you have none.”

    Jay Z: ” Correct.”

    NFL Player: “And, you have no actual experience as an Agent?”

    Jay Z: “True.”

    NFL Player: “So, I’m more educated than you and have an equal amount of experience representing myself. Why should I pay you?”

    Jay Z: “Umm…because…I’m Jay Z?”

  9. We all know Jay-Z won’t be the brains behind the operation. Even though being a “runner” is illegal, I’m sure they’ll find a way to make something work.

  10. He owns a record label and negotiates with artists signed to his label. Before that he negotiated record contracts for himself. That seems like much more relevant experience than drug dealing.

  11. Now , fellas , be careful of any comments you make in response to this story , because as we all know , there’s a double standard in America today regarding this sort of thing , and anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of political correctness.
    Just sayin’

  12. Are you paying attention kids? See, your parents always said you would never amount to anything if you got involved with drugs. But Jay-Z is the perfect example of how wrong they are! Now get out there and sell some Heisenberg blue meth if you ever want to represent the criminals, errrr, athletes of tomorrow!

  13. Yeah let me have you manage my multi-million dollar contract when all you have done is dealt with low life’s and crack hoes. This guy thinks a ledger is is a whacked out fool who thinks he can fly and jumps off a 5th story ledge. Let’s see who is stupid enough to let this grown up 3rd grader handle their life. C’mon Man……

  14. He does the recruiting and hires people to run the numbers and handle to legal language mumble jumble. Living the American dream. Can’t knock the hustle.

  15. Are you serious? This moron said drug dealing prepared him to negotiate player contracts? The last ounce of respect I had for this DB just went out the window….

  16. Wonderful model for our kids!

    “Go ahead, son, be a drug dealer. You’ll have a head start for when you start a business!”

  17. Dude turned his street corner hustle into a multi-million dollar brand across the music,movie,and fashion industries. Odds are he’ll do just fine.

  18. Soooooo all he does is “represent” these athletes giving them street cred cause they can say they have jay-z as an agent. All he has to is hire people who manage the business/nitty gritty…he is a billionaire celebrity after all

  19. He wants a $300 milllion deal for Robinson Canoe. After owners got burned twice on the Alex Rodiguez deal? Are there still owners out there who would score a 6 on the Wonderlich? He might find they may not be as dense as the kids who buy his DVDs.

  20. Nothing quite as classy as bragging about being a dirtbag criminal.

    That being said… the percentage of Black CEOs in America is not ever close to 12%.

  21. You dont flip a rap career into an empire that’s closing in on a billion without knowing what you’re getting yourself into, at every turn. That bit about understanding the nuances of the biz wasn’t necessary. Dude is a calculated businessman, dont sell him short.

  22. “I was a drug dealer”

    Just another reason the NFL should never allow this rich privileged jerk to be a part of the league it sends the wrong message to young fans .

  23. Not only does he look like a total doofus, evidently he is a total moron too.

    Sorry, if this dumbass showed up at my facility to negotiate a deal, he wouldn’t even make it past security.

  24. That quote should tell you all you need to know. His competence is in marketing his own reputation with either real or made up stories. I wouldn’t trust him with various stranger’s money but the young athletes seeking fame will flock to him. Let him deal with sponsorships but let a legit agency handle the CBA contract stuff.

  25. Admitting you were a drug dealer could get your license pulled if you’re a doctor, or disbarred if you’re a lawyer. But if you want to be a sports agent, it gives you street cred. Says a lot about sports, doesn’t it.

  26. You wonder why anyone would hitch their wagon to this former drug dealing pimp. The leopard sheds the fur, but never the spots.

  27. Hey kids, forget about going to school, getting an education and working hard in life to get what you want and being a positive contributor to society:

    Sell drugs, screw school and an education(who needs it), and become a rapper who sings about b!tches, drugs and murder. Then in your later years when you’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars, open your own sports agency, hire qualified representatives(because you’re too stupid to do it on your own merit) and pay top dollar to attorneys to negotiate players contracts for you, all the while sitting back and collecting 20% of whatever you negotiate, and not having the slightest understanding of how football works.

    If this isn’t a great example of living the American Dream and the feel-good story of the year, then I don’t know what is….

  28. “For Jay Z, the challenge will be to admit that he knows what he doesn’t know”

    This is always a difficult thing to do…

  29. So called street cred is destroying generations of young people from getting real educations and keeping them from sounding like normal people. It’s sad that the children of immigrants sound more American than those who have been here for hundreds of years.

  30. Great… Way to show young people that dealing drugs will lead you to riches beyond your wildest dreams. What a role model.

  31. So this guy is openly admitting he sold drugs – committed a illegal crime? He learned how to work and be in the sports business from overdosing and basically harming people? I am sorry, Jay Z you are really not impressive, all you did was commit illegal crimes and your bragging about it how it got you ahead. LOL ….

  32. Stick to music and ripping off other peoples music… we do not need a drug dealer/ or former drug dealer to be involved in a currupt business already. Btw Scott Boras has more knowledge of the business than powder on your nose bro… only a dope (no pun) athlete would sign with someone who promises him rap videos vs the best agent in the world…

  33. Uhhhm Duh…..He’s not attempting to be an agent Florio, JAY Z OWNS THE AGENCY!!!! It is not imperative that he have the “expertise necessary to dissect labor deals and salary caps and comparable contracts and all of the other nuances” any more than it is important for the OWNER of McDonalds to know how to flip a burger or drop a basket of fries!!!! His major draw is his connection to pop culture and the various revenue streams a icon such as Jay Z will be able to offer his clientele. Get a clue! Then again, you probably feel intellectually superior with your law degree to Jay Z, meanwhile he’s worth over 500 Million and is married to Beyonce…………..

  34. Jay’s the man he can do anything he wants considering he’s worth half a bill. I’m sure he will have plenty of people helping out, he just is there for the branding n the check writing.

  35. Just what society needs. Kids to WANT to be drug dealers because they think they can be agents. Jay-Z is very successful but what he went from to what he is doesn’t happen to the majority of people who have or will try the same.

  36. Knowing when his clients need a re-up.

    Definitely a skill that transfers over.

    That’s something that just can’t be taught in a classroom 😉

  37. Not sure I would want to sign a free agent that has his company as his rep.

    Would surely make me drop draft value in any college athlete that chooses his company as his representation.

    I mean it’s like Tony Soprano saying he knows about budgets because he ran a successful bookie outfit.

  38. Amazing…

    Amazingly saddening that these young impressionable players would be drawn to this dude because he sold drugs and raps.

    I fear for the future of not only this country, but the world.

  39. Based on a lot of people I know and know of that have multiple degree’s from prestigious universities I’d have to say that “educational credentials” aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

  40. Lets be fair here…he clearly isn’t saying selling drugs is the sole reason he’ll be able to become a solid agent for players. He’s built one heck of a music and clothing empire for him self. He knows a bit about a business.

    I’ll admit it’s an odd but honest thing to say but he deserves credit for his other achievements that show quite a business acumen.

  41. Jay Z You are a music star. Leave it at that. You sound like a Moron saying you want to become an agent. Your not smart in that way, stick to music o_O

  42. I suppose you all believe that big business in America has all been made on fair deals and working hard up the corporate ladder? No hand outs…nothing illegal….nothing dirty….just good clean business.

    You guys scream for honesty and when someone is you tear them apart.

    A young man used an option afforded him to get out of a bad situation and chase his dreams. Dig a little deeper into the companies you support and I’d bet you’ll find a lot of similar stories. He’s just not afraid of his.

    His story is America.

  43. raiderufan says:
    Oct 2, 2013 9:33 AM
    I suppose you all believe that big business in America has all been made on fair deals and working hard up the corporate ladder? No hand outs…nothing illegal….nothing dirty….just good clean business.

    A young man used an option afforded him to get out of a bad situation and chase his dreams. Dig a little deeper into the companies you support and I’d bet you’ll find a lot of similar stories. He’s just not afraid of his.
    —————————————

    so the moral of this story is it’s okay to sell cut drugs to kids as long as it gets you ahead to the point where you can become legit?….yeah, I think I’ll have my kid go to college & work hard instead.

  44. t8ertot says: Oct 2, 2013 12:00 AM

    Don’t judge Jay from your high horse. America was founded by criminals and rebels
    ______________________________________

    America was founded by religious fugitives and people who wanted a new start in life. But I’m guessing Jay Z thinks America was founded by drug dealers and agents.

  45. ahs2 says:
    Oct 2, 2013 10:16 AM

    so the moral of this story is it’s okay to sell cut drugs to kids as long as it gets you ahead to the point where you can become legit?….yeah, I think I’ll have my kid go to college & work hard instead.
    ————————————-

    I’m not saying his path is just and right. I’m simply saying he’s one of the very few who are honest once they get to the top.

    You can act like the go to college, get a great job, start a family and prosper dream is still alive for everyone but it simply isn’t. The harsh reality is that millions of kids are in his exact position right now and the American Dream is simply that. A dream.

    I don’t fault a teenager surrounded by constant violence and no real means to a end for doing whatever it took to get out and make something of himself.

  46. Commenters never cease to amaze me. The man has amassed half a billion dollars and you paint him a moron? He admits his past transgressions but he doesn’t deserve a chance to right the ship? Is this not America? And Jay Z IS A ROLE MODEL. He’s a role model for people that grow up in drug dealing/illegal lifestyles. He made it OUT of the life and is now a self made millionaire that owns several businesses. He may not be a role model to YOUR kids but so what? Its funny how u’r expected to act as a role model to every child just because u’r famous. It’s easy to pick apart someone without walking in their shoes. Don’t be so quick to judge…

  47. Well lets see, I make roughly $75,000 per year and I am probably worth about $250,000 and I have a college degree. JZ makes about $250,000 million per year and is worth over a billion with no college degree. Bernard Madoff got a degree from Hosftra and received the Congressional Medal of Honor and other awards. Bernie is in jail. So who is smater? Seems to me JZ has a blue print to success that many of us commenting do not, especially when it comes to making alot of money. Last time I checked, I have not heard of JZ getting busted for anything illegal. If grunting on mic makes millions, I am sure he could run a sports agency. JZ seems to be pretty intelligent after all at least compared to his success and bank account to ours. So I guess, that degree thing is alittle overrated.

  48. @tigersfandan, Actually America was founded by people who wanted a new life but used a “by any means necessary” tactic to make that happen. They killed and stole land that was not theirs. But that’s all history stuff that does not count.

  49. Master P was an agent too, how did that work out for him? Not very good and hes a much more talented rapper than Mr Beyonce ever was.
    If you live on the west coast and grew up in the 90s you know how big No Limit was . Jay-z go away with your lame raps

  50. @caliraiderz, were you hit in the dead at a Raiders game? Master P better than JZ? That’s like saying the Raiders are better than the Broncos! OMG, I am cracking up here at work. LOL LOL!!

  51. t8ertot says: Oct 2, 2013 12:00 AM

    “Don’t judge Jay from your high horse. America was founded by criminals and rebels”

    I highly doubt that our fore fathers signed the declaration of independence on a street corner slinging poison to the neighborhood .

  52. “I highly doubt that our fore fathers signed the declaration of independence on a street corner slinging poison to the neighborhood .”

    Blankets with small pox says a bit differently…

  53. @caliraiderz – while I wouldn’t say that Master P is a better rapper than Jay Z, I will say that No-Limit dominated Rap for a while. TRU 2 the Game….classic!

  54. One of the only rappers nowadays that actually has the influence over an entire generation, yet he chooses to put some bullzhit out there like this. C’mon dude. All you gotta do is tell these kids to stop doing drugs, stop selling drugs, and get an education in ONE rap song. Just make one dude. Just one!!!!!!!!!

  55. That’s why I prefer to listen to and support guys from my neighborhood like Cam’ron, who is REAL and honest, and not selling his soul to make an extra 0. Jay Z is a fraud. It’s sad that HE has more influence than someone who keeps it on 1, 24/7.

  56. Should I be looking up to Carnegie, Rockefeller, Kennedy, Mellon, Morgan, Schwab, etc.? People might want to check the histories of this now famous and celebrated “models” of citizenry…

  57. tientzu1 says:
    Oct 4, 2013 3:43 PM
    Should I be looking up to Carnegie, Rockefeller, Kennedy, Mellon, Morgan, Schwab, etc.? People might want to check the histories of this now famous and celebrated “models” of citizenry…

    ============

    He is only following their model. They eliminated competition and some were even more ruthless. . These now famous models are lightweights compared to those robber barons.

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