Mikhail Prokhorov, Jay-Z Manhattan Billboard Literally Stares Down Knicks
The theme of the billboard -- "The Blueprint for Greatness" -- is an obvious play on Jay-Z's sixth album, The Blueprint (and yes, subsequent follow-ups of the same name) as well as the potential for the New Jersey Nets to become something other than a disembodied franchise.
But much more importantly, because of billboard's location, it's a direct shot at the New York Knicks and LeBron James; the Knicks because it says "Hello there! Yes we DO have enough money to waste lots of cash on advertising real estate all up in your zip code, thanks for asking."
(It's also a way of letting fans know that the Nets are on board with a sentiment that Sanjay from Queens echoed to FanHouse on Wednesday: "It's New York. Everything's better in New York." Which is to say, they might be the New Jersey Nets, but they're headed into the city with gusto.)
And LeBron because the next time he goes to Madison Square Garden (and my goodness, aren't the Knicks glad they're going to Akron to chat with James instead of him coming to NYC), he'll be staring a gigantic billboard of the Knicks' biggest geographic rival.
When Prokhorov meets LeBron on Thursday (and as Adrian Wojnarowski writes at Yahoo!, Jay-Z is likely to join him), he's going to make it clear that no one is in a better position to make LeBron a "global icon" than the Nets.
But even if the Nets can't somehow land LeBron, the billboard -- which is freaking AWESOME, in case that wasn't made clear -- is a straight-up statement that New Jersey, for all it's lack of winning last year, has no business being considered a by-stander when it comes to 2010 free agency.
Jordan Schultz contributed to this report.