As you move through life, you're likely to pick up many skills through your experiences that hopefully prepare you for the future. Everything should be a learning experience. For former minority Brooklyn Nets owner Jay Z, he's certainly had plenty of job titles that have afforded him the opportunity to become a well-rounded businessman and someone that is prepared to be a big-time sports agent. He's been a rapper, producer, head of a record label, clothing designer, restaurant and club owner, an investor in beauty products, and more.
Possibly what's prepared him best to be a sports agent though was his early years when he was a drug dealer. According to an interview with Vanity Fair, Jay Z said the components that make up being a drug dealer helped him learn skills that will come in handy when he's negotiating deals and ventures for his clients.
Jay's checkered past taught him a few things that he says will come in handy in his new role as a sports agent: “I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he tells Robinson. “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.”
Jay Z's current client list is comprised of Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, Geno Smith of the New York Jets, Victory Cruz of the New York Giants, Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock, and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He's already reportedly floated the idea of a $300 million contract for Cano. There is a maximum he can get someone like Durant when his contract is up in 2016, but perhaps that's where something like starting a lucrative barbershop or car wash for his client is where he can supplement some income.
The rapper's past isn't a secret by any means. He has put his experiences into lyrics of his to mass audiences ever since Reasonable Doubt was released in June 1996. In an interview with Oprah in 2009, he openly discussed being a crack dealer and talked about how dealers were his role models growing up.
His past and previous occupations have turned him into one of the most impressive success stories in the United States, even if it does include illegal roles and acts to get him this point. He's worth hundreds of millions of dollars and will now try to bring the same wealth to his clients that he earned for himself.