Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 2:58 pm  |  26 responses

The New Jersey Nyets?

by Lang Whitaker

Mikhail D. Prokhorov, described by the New York Times as the richest man in Russia, has apparently agreed to a deal that will make him the principal owner of the New Jersey Nets. The deal is said to hinge on a $200 million investment from Prokhorov, and it will give Prokhorov eighty percent ownership of the Nets and forty-five percent ownership of the alleged new arena in Brooklyn. You know, the one they still haven’t broken ground on. Current Nets owner Bruce Ratner, a real estate developer hit hard by the recession, has talked about needing to find investors to keep his dream of moving the Nyets to Brooklyn alive. Looks like he found an investor. In Russia.

Who is das Prokhorov? According to Wikipedia, he made his billions by producing nickel and palladium (which, incidentally, is the name of a music HD channel on my cable system), and now he trades in gold. He also owns a $17 billion private investment fund, Onexim Group, that invests in stuff like “development of nanotechnology, including hydrogen fuel cells, as well as other high-technology projects and non-ferrous and precious metals mining.” Also, struggling basketball franchises.

Besides being rich, he does have some other qualifications for being involved with the NBA. For instance, he was formerly involved in running CSKA Moscow, one of Russia’s most storied basketball franchises. He apparently used to date Naomi Campbell. He’s six-foot-nine. And he is known in Russia, again according to Wikipedia, for his lavish lifestyle:

The Moscow News Weekly described him as “Russia’s most eligible bachelor.”He was satirized on a Russian TV commercial for his love of travelling the world in a private jet in the company of beautiful women.

In a larger sense, David Stern has to be thrilled about this. For a while now, soccer teams in England have been courting cash from around the globe, and many teams in the Premier League are now controlled by foreign money. Where dem dollars at? Stern and the other NBA owners don’t care so much about where the money comes from, as long as the money keeps coming. And this move could signal to the rest of the world’s billionaires that the NBA is a place worth investing your cash.

What a country!

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  • Big D

    yeah, good for Stern’s pocketbook and the jigga’s, but horrible decision for the NBA product. Russian investors are ruining the English League soccer product. (Will I get shot by the Russian mafia for this comment?)

  • Big D

    yeah, good for Stern’s pocketbook and the jigga’s, but horrible decision for the NBA product. Russian investors are ruining the English League soccer product. (Will I get shot by the Russian mafia for this comment?)

  • Emmett

    In Soviet Russia, shitty teams buy YOU!

  • Emmett

    In Soviet Russia, weak teams buy YOU!

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Big D: Big difference: NBA has a salary cap/luxury tax. EPL doesn’t.

  • Captain Jean Luc-Picard

    Does he go out in public naked and ask for pizza? If not, he should not be an owner.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    hmm… Lang, what happened to the language filter? not that i mind, just wondering…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Klav

    He’ll find other ways and incentives to lure people in completely via sponsorships etc. Watch out for Bron to ball out in Brooklyn with Bosh, Lopez, Harris, and Lee. Damn it’ll be a crazy team, if the Knicks can use the loophole for salary cap, what makes you think this guy won’t, considering he’s worth $17 billion.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I’m not saying the Nets wouldn’t be able to spend and then just pay the luxury tax, but you still have to make good basketball decisions in order to win titles. Just ask Dallas. Or the Knicks.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    Letitia James better start paying more attention when she crosses the street.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Russian investors have done wonders for the EPL. Chelseas was an afterthought in the 90s and now they’re one of the biggest and most succesful club in the world. I wish that Man U had that kind of loot to stack world class players at the end of our bench instead of fielding O’Shite at RB.

  • Gerard Himself

    this could be good news, but also bad news: read the article by Dave D’Alessandro: http://www.nj.com/nets/index.ssf/2009/09/prokhorov_takes_over_nets.html

    the man has some other motives as well, brining his own people, etc.

  • jdubbs29

    This will be very interesting for the league, especially with him moving in Russian coaches and trainers. Don’t know how the players will react or relate to it, but I guess we’ll find out. What does Jigga get out of this?

  • Brian

    Great title on this article.

  • pig


  • TADOne

    I think i’ll have a shot of vodka in tribute.

  • NJ4Life


  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Jay-Z needs to put out a diss track now…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @pig: It’s football…in Europe. It’s soccer here in the US.
    @Z: Couldn’t agree more. Can’t stand O’Shea.

  • Kent Kanada

    Russian Mafia. That’s it that’s all.

  • http:///realcavsfans.com Anton

    Can’t wait for Borscht night at the Izod!

  • LOAF

    Soccer in the US, coz there crap at actual English Football

    Z – Man U are doing fine as it is without the influx of money from the “rich” though watch Man City fly up and up and up….

  • http://www.vacationrentalsad.com jack lord

    Good for him…even though I don’t watch much sports, it’s overrated and these talented sportsman are most definitely over paid.

  • Josh D

    FOOTBALL!!! NOT SOCCER!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://sweetmercifulcrap.com Adlai Plebeian
  • http://www.zazzle.com/nj_nyets_throwback_tshirt-235046387189400926 Ivan Drago