Brooklyn's own Jay-Z opened up the new downtown Barclays Center with a bang. The first event ever held in the new arena was a hometown showcase for the singer who promoted its newest tenants — the Brooklyn Nets — by sporting a No. 4 team jersey.
Jay-Z made his dramatic Barclays Center debut — the first of eight concerts — wearing a Nets cap and the the old school-style black uniform jersey that the team had been keeping under wraps until recently. Yup, there it was underneath all the gold chains for everyone to see.
The 19,000 fans at the venue's housewarming party included an roster of celebrities and sports stars. The Nets star point guard, Deron Williams, even made the trip from Manhattan to see his boss perform. Also spotted in the crowd were New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, NBA legend Magic Johnson and even NBC weatherman Al Roker.
While the borough's most famous rapper wore his Brooklyn on his sleeve — well his arm at least — Jay-Z paid homage to the genre's Brooklyn pioneers. He insisted on a moment of silence for Notorious BIG and later had Big Daddy Kane come out for an high energy encore.
"Tonight is a celebration of the borough where I'm from," Jay-Z told the crowd. "Welcome to my house."
Jay-Z's fingerprints are all over the place. From the 40/40 Club to the unis to the music, it is his house.
"I've been on many stages , been all around the world, but nothing feels like like tonight," he exclaimed to his fans about the thrill of performing in the state-of-the-art arena in front of his hometown fans.
The minority owner of the Nets is proud of his Brooklyn roots and satisfaction that he helped bring the borough its first major professional sports team in 50 years.
If last night's opening was any indication, the Brooklyn Nets are going to give the Knicks a run for their money or, at least with Jay-Z as the front man, they might be the biggest attraction in New York this winter.