Jay-Z visits the Kentucky Wildcats locker room after they beat UNC to advance to the 2011 Final Four.

NBA Fines Nets $50,000 For Jay-Z's Kentucky Wildcats Locker Room Visit, Says Report

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Nets Fined $50,000 For Jay-Z Visit To Kentucky Wildcats Locker Room

The NBA has handed down a $50,000 fine to the New Jersey Nets after franchise minority owner Jay-Z visited the Kentucky Wildcats locker room during the NCAA Tournament, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein. The league had previously waged fines ranging for $10,000 per prohibited student contact to as much as $50,000 when Danny Ainge spoke with Kevin Durant's mother before the 2007 NBA Draft.

Jay-Z is, of course, a celebrity first, a Nets owner second. The rap mogul maintains friendships with LeBron James and basketball power broker William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley, who represents Kentucky coach John Calipari. LeBron attended at least one Kentucky basketball game in 2010, when John Wall was the star.

Kentucky has two sure-fire first-round picks in the 2011 NBA Draft -- freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones -- should the prospects declare. Kentucky was knocked out in the Final Four, falling to the eventual champion Connecticut Huskies.

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NBA Plans To Investigate Jay-Z For Kentucky Wildcats Locker Room Visit, According To Report

We all laughed at the picture of Jay-Z joining the Kentucky Wildcats in the locker room after their win over North Carolina to advance to the Final Four. Turns out, the rap mogul's visit with the team may be against NBA rules. The league frowns upon owners -- Jay-Z is part-owner of the New Jersey Nets -- hanging around potential draft picks, of which Kentucky has plenty.

The report comes from CBS Sports, which notes the precedent set when Celtics general manager Danny Ainge spent time with Kevin Durant's mother.

As noted here, this offense would seem to be comparable to Celtics GM Danny Ainge sitting with Kevin Durant's mother during the 2007 Big 12 tournament. Ainge was fined $30,000, a slap on the wrist in exchange for the opportunity to schmooze a top prospect's mom. But given that standard, Jay-Z should be docked $30K for each college player who was in the locker room.

For a man of Jay-Z's stature, the monetary penalty, if there is one, would be a drop in the barrel. Besides, it's unlikely his contact with the Kentucky players was malicious in any way. He's not making a LeBron-like pitch to the Wildcats with cameras and media members around, but the league takes its rules serious and tampering with draft prospect who have yet to exhaust their college eligibility is a problem.

Stay with this StoryStream for the latest on any potential investigation as more becomes available. For more on the Nets, head on over to Nets Daily.

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