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BROOKLYN, New York — It’s been seven years since Jay-Z announced he was bringing the New Jersey Nets back home to New York during his 2003 “Fade To Black Concert” at Madison Square Garden. On Thursday (March 11), Nets co-owner Hov, an assortment of New York politicians and executives from the Nets came to Brooklyn for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the team’s future home, the Barclays Center.

The Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band led the way into the press conference, which took place at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards. Jay walked in with Beyoncé, standing out in a crowd that included the Reverend Al Sharpton, New York Governor David Paterson and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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Plenty of jokes flew as each person came to the podium. Governor Paterson got serious when talking about people opposed to the arena being built in Brooklyn because of the disruption it would cause in the community. Paterson promised more than 16,000 union jobs and more than 5,500 “permanent jobs” for the people in Brooklyn. He also said he expected the new stadium to yield more than $1.5 billion for the city over the next few years. The embattled governor, a Brooklyn native, expressed his love for the Nets and said when they left New York for New Jersey it was “one of the worst days of my life — other than becoming governor.”

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