The Brooklyn Nets will open the 2012-13 NBA season in their brand new arena, against their now cross-borough rival New York Knicks. The team’s Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov is a big reason why. Prokhorov owns eighty percent of the team, while another highly publicized partner of his owns a reported one-fifteenth of one percent. The reason we care? His name is Jay-Z.

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, is the most famous hip-hop artist in the world today, and his business prowess makes him even more of a global brand. Jay-Z may not actually own that much of the Nets, but his influence on the team and its new city is unparalleled.

As the New York Times reports, Jay-Z was heavily involved in designing the team’s logo and colors and has even “counseled” arena executives on what the team’s home soundtrack should be during games.

How he’s been able to improve the ‘image’ of Nets franchise is a little more obvious to hoops and hip-hop fans. Jay-Z’s music is as popular in the NBA as the Beats by Dre headphones that players use to listen to it. LeBron James and Dwight Howard considered the Nets as potential destinations when their time came to change teams. Not sure the franchise gets those ‘considerations’ without Jay-Z playing a small role in the ‘recruitment.’

And what better way to open the Barclays Center this season than with eight sold-out shows from — who else? — Jay-Z. It’s all starting to make sense now.

The only thing left to do is make the playoffs, which the Nets have failed to do the last five seasons.

Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj