Posted: May 23, 2010 in CELEBZ
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Sonny Vaccaro, the Adidas sneaker king who has known LeBron James since James was in ninth grade, told The Post that Jay-Z could emerge as the biggest force in LeBron James’ decision on free agency.

Vaccaro said Jay-Z’s influence may even trump that of his top inner circle of childhood friend/business manager, Maverick Carter, notorious confidant William Wesley and agent Leon Rose. And Vaccaro says that bodes well for the Nets and Knicks. Jay-Z has a 1.5 percent piece of the Nets, but also is an occasional celebrity-row occupant at the Garden, with his wife Beyonce.”I don’t think the Nets would be involved without Jay-Z,” Vaccaro told The Post. “LeBron and Jay-Z is something that is inseparable and you almost have to include that in the equation. I think he will be consulted. It’s a very good relationship. Jay-Z was LeBron before LeBron was LeBron. That’s the respect LeBron shows him.”
One NBA source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person didn’t want to offend James’ inner circle, told The Post, “If you ask me who the most important person in this is besides blood, I’d say Jay-Z. That helps the Nets, but Jay-Z will understand it as a friend if he doesn’t come. But I think (Jay-Z) helps the Knicks a lot more than Chicago.”

Another NBA insider said Jay-Z’s dream scenario would be James signing a contact with the Knicks with an opt-out after three years, then darting across the Brooklyn Bridge once the Nets are ensconced there. James would still be in his prime at 28. According to a Jay-Z spokesperson, the rapper is touring Europe much of June and July but assured he and James communicate regularly. Jay-Z’s public wooing of James before July 1 could be construed as tampering by paranoid NBA commissioner David Stern. Carter, James’ top advisor, said James will sit down this week to look over his options.

Two years ago, with James’ free-agency still far away, Jay-Z was quoted in an Esquire magazine story, saying James playing for the Nets “would be a dream for me. But he’s my friend first. I want the best for him wherever he is. He’s my friend before he’s a commodity.”

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