A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, like women's hoops star Skylar Diggins this past weekend, I graduated from the University of Notre Dame.
And thus ends the list of things that Skylar Diggins and I have in common.
At the time of my graduation, I was (and still am) a pasty, unathletic, sarcastic and not all that attractive man. At the time of her graduation, Skylar Diggins is a dark complected, world class athletic, stunningly attractive woman.
Additionally, my nicest graduation present was a briefcase from my parents. Skylar Diggins just got a Mercedes from Jay-Z.
As you may know, Jay-Z has thrown his hat into the athlete representation ring, with his agency group Roc Nation signing up Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, and yes, Diggins, as their first few athletic clients. The prong of their strategy that sets Jay-Z's group apart from other conventional sports rep groups centers on his endless list of connections for cross promoting his clients in the world of music, television, film, etc.
With Jay-Z, it's as much about marketing and brand management as it is making sure you get that player option in the fourth year of your deal.
Reportedly, Jay-Z's presence on the agency landscape has got agents who specialize in certain sports (the NBA, in particular) concerned that the worldwide music star will have a significant leg up when it comes to signing big name clients down the road. In the world of representation selection, Jay-Z is the hipness equivalent of flat screens and X-boxes in the player's lounge at a college football facility.
In short, Jay-Z is pretty fucking cool.
(By the way, Jay-Z is also a tremendous businessman as well. I don't want to diminish that, but the fact is he can just plunk his "cool card" down on the table and immediately get the attention of most 18-22 year olds, even before they look at his business resume.)
Back to Diggins. As I mentioned, the former Notre Dame women's basketball player and third overall pick in last month's WNBA Draft (to the Tulsa Shock) is a client of Roc Nation, and apparently Jay-Z takes care of his clients.
To wit, the aforementioned Mercedes which Diggins received courtesy of her new agent:
— Roc Nation (@RocNation) May 19, 2013
I have a few thoughts on this development:
5. As I mentioned, like Diggins, I am a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame. For purposes of this thought, I will be required to "date" myself. I graduated in 1991. At that time, the most noteworthy athletes on campus were easily football players, and the most head turning May car acquisition was Ricky Watters driving around in a new black SUV. For the most high profile, gratis automobile to belong to a female basketball player in 2013 is an indicator of just how
much damage Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend did to his brand far Notre Dame women's hoops has come.
4. Seriously, for today's most prominent rapper to be purchasing a Mercedes for the marquee player on Notre Dame's women's hoops team probably boggles the mind of any ND alum older than the age of 35. When I was at Notre Dame, our star player was a spunky little blond from New Jersey named Karen Robinson. Applying the appropriate conversion chart for all the variables involved, the proportional occurrence in 1991 to "Jay-Z buys Mercedes for Skylar Diggins" would be, like, Michael Bolton buying a Honda Passport for Karen Robinson.
3. I don't know what Jay-Z's strategy is as it pertains to women's hoops. I'm guessing the Diggins signing has more to do with her cross promotional potential (i.e. she's smoking hot) than her crossover dribble. However, if Jay-Z is looking to corner the market on certain sports, maybe he sees the WNBA as low hanging fruit, like when you say "Fuck it" and buy up Baltic and Mediterranean on a Monopoly board just to have something. That said, um, Skylar Diggins is smoking hot. Probably that.
2. So if Skylar Diggins, WNBA guard, is getting a brand new Mercedes from Jay-Z, what does Robinson Cano get when the time is right? Ten Mercedes? An entire Mercedes dealership? Land and title rights to the entire country of Germany?
1. This much will become clear over the next several months if Jay-Z stays with this and beefs up his athlete agency business -- much like the chicken and egg tug o' war that goes on with college recruiting, where sometimes the caliber of teams recruiting an athlete can actually raise that athlete's profile ("Yeah, he's good....wait, USC and Alabama are recruiting him? Oh, he's a five star!"), Jay-Z will be the rare (only?) agent where he and his company actually raise the profile of their clients through mere association.
And you get a Mercedes for graduation to boot!
Not a bad deal for Skylar Diggins.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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