by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I curiously watched the press conference held last week to celebrate the New Jersey Nets (well, not quite New Jersey anymore) stadium set to be built in Brooklyn. A group of investors, led by Bruce Ratner, were joined by many prominent New York public figures to celebrate the ground-breaking of one of the highest impact economic endeavors in the history of Brooklyn. Jay-Z is part of the group of investors who bought the Nets, so of course he attended the ceremony.
The excitement of bringing a professional sports team to a city is overwhelming. Teams can bring out a sense of community spirit and unity which ultimately helps provide a little meaning in a complex world. Cities compete to bring teams to their town because the fans want them. Cities give teams extensive tax subsidies and even offer to use eminent domain to take property away from residents who are not willing to sell their homes in order to have the stadium built. Sounds terrible, doesn't it? Well, sometimes it can be.