Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter returned to his Brooklyn roots Monday, announcing that he would be the first performer to play Barclays Center when the venue opens in September 2012.
"This is where I'm from, I'll always be Brooklyn and opening this arena will mean more to me than anywhere else," he said.
Jay-Z made his announcement while surrounded by students from George Westinghouse High School, located just one mile away from the Barclays Center site in Downtown Brooklyn.
"It means that he cares about us, that he took the time out and came to see us," said Westinghouse eleventh grader Keitcha Bernard, who was one of about two dozen students selected to attend Monday's ceremony based on academic excellence.
Jay-Z took time out during the press conference to tip his hat to the young residents of Marcy Houses, the public housing development in Bed-Stuy where he grew up.
"I absolutely am humbled, and I am so much proud of the kids that come from Marcy Projects to stand here...," Jay-Z said. "I asked for two things, two things out of my partners in ownership [and one of them] is that we named the New Jersey Nets the Brooklyn Nets. And the second one is that I open it with a concert."
Monday's announcement came as at the arena, which in addition to NBA basketball will host concerts, circus acts and perhaps .
"As Jay-Z knows, this arena is largely about the children and the youth of Brooklyn. We can give them more moments... that first circus, that first basketball game, that first ice hockey game," said Bruce Ratner, CEO of Forest City Ratner, the site's developer.
Nets management also ended speculation regarding a new name for the relocated basketball team, confirming that the Nets will remain the Nets once the first season begins in Brooklyn in 2012-13.
"We are proud to announce this highly anticipated decision to name the team the Brooklyn Nets, a choice which reflects the decades-long tradition of our team and fans," said Nets chairman Chris Charlier.