ESPN's highly popular daytime broadcast First Take has welcomed an array of rappers to join the debate desk and voice their opinions on sport's topics. Yesterday, in spite of his absence hosts Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless addressed hip-hop mogul Jay Z's recent venture into the sports agency business. Jay's Roc Nation Sports has signed high-profile athletes from a variety of leagues including Skylar Diggins (WNBA), Robinson Cano (MLB), Victor Cruz (NFL), Geno Smith (NFL), and Kevin Durant (NBA). His acquisitions have been heavily publicized and also controversial.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Jay says he credits his drug dealing past as an experience that helps in preparing him as a sports agent.
“I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he told the publication. “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. At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small; you're going to get locked up or you're going to die.”
While crediting several drug dealers from his own past, Stephen A. commented on the quote by saying, "I think Jay Z is one of the greatest American stories in our nation's history, in terms of his success, what he went through to get to where he is and more importantly what he has become."
Bayless agreed and added, "some of the lessons that Jay Z learned in the streets, can certainly be applied to the sports agent business at a very high level. I think that would make him a shrewd operator as a sports agent."
Both hosts are usually at odds when it comes to discussing issues during the program but they seemed to agree that Jay not only personifies what the American Dream is all about but also Roc Nation Sports will succeed. Check out their full responses below:
Stephen A. Smith on Jay Z
Skip Bayless on Jay Z