Since buying the Nets in 2009, Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov has stood out as one of the most eccentric figure's in the NBA's orbit. Sure, some of that craziness might just be part of a culture most of us don't understand. Then again, very few people own an obscenely luxurious yacht that they hate to use because of seasickness.
Prokhorov is also very tall, usually listed at 6-foot-8. He says he can dunk, but most people haven't seen him play basketball beyond a few casual jumpers. Luckily, video now exists of Prokhorov in a real game. In September, he participated in a charity game to benefit those affected by the "Bulgaria" boat disaster. Prokhorov spoke about the importance of the game, as quoted in the video's YouTube description (via Nets Are Scorching and TBJ):
"What makes a person different from an animal? The fact that (a person) can be involved in events like this. And events like this unite people, help us to survive our common tragedies, so the more events like this there are, the better it will be for our country. It leads to recovery, it leads to our becoming kinder to people, and for our country that's very important."
Wow, that is surprisingly philosophical. Unfortunately, Prokhorov's pocketbook was a lot more important to the game than his skill on the court, because his game can best be described as stilted, uncomfortable, and lacking any distinct flow. Like many tall people, he looks a little uncoordinated.
No matter, though, because he has more money than I will ever encounter in 10 different lifetimes. If he wants to play basketball for a good cause, it's tough to argue with him. So nice job, Mikhail.
Hopefully we'll see an NBA player on the court again before another owner takes the court. Something tells me Robert Sarver would get blown off the court by Prokhorov.
- Mikhail Prokhorov