When Jay-Z dropped by the Kentucky locker room on Sunday after the Wildcats clinched a Final Four berth with a victory over North Carolina, the rap mogul shook hands with the players, signed autographs and posed for pictures.
It was an innocent moment in everyone's eyes except perhaps the NBA's.
According to CBSSports.com, the NBA is investigating whether Jay-Z's presence in the Kentucky locker room is a violation of league rules prohibiting team personnel from having contact with college players before they declare for the draft. In addition to his rap career, Jay-Z is also the part owner of the New Jersey Nets.
The advantage Jay-Z could gain by mingling with Kentucky would be the chance to spend time around potential draft picks in order to make a better informed decision on whether to invest in them or not. The Wildcats have several potential lottery picks, including guard Brandon Knight and forward Terrence Jones.
The situation is reminiscent of one that occurred four years ago involving Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and then-Texas prospect Kevin Durant. Ainge was fined $30,000 for sitting with Durant's mother during a Big 12 tournament game before the freshman forward had declared his intent to enter the NBA draft.
In that case, Ainge's intent was fairly obvious considering the Celtics were certain to have one of the top picks in the draft and Durant was a potential target.
It's harder to envision Jay-Z gaining much inside information from a few minutes inside the victorious Kentucky locker room, but it's also understandable that the NBA doesn't want to set a precedent by letting this slide.
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