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.