Mon Mar 29 02:10pm EDT
Get ready to have a new favorite owner in the NBA. For all these years, we've been crazy about Mark Cuban. Maybe not his on-court silliness, but his willingness to spend money, speak out against injustices, and wear sleeveless shirts are all proof that Mark Cuban is an owner that we can at least appreciate.
We can now add soon-to-be Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov to that list. Business Week has an outstanding profile on the Russian billionaire that puts even Pau Gasol's exploits to shame. There's an in-depth exploration of his finances that's fascinating in its own right, but the little thrown-in anecdotes really make the piece sing. For instance, this little tidbit about Prokhorov's lifestyle:
For all his party-going, Prokhorov says he's never been drunk or even tasted vodka. He usually dresses like a gangling teenager in loose-fitting T-shirts and jeans. Until five years ago, when he was already worth billions, he lived with his older sister, Irina, in the 500-square-foot (45-square-meter) Moscow apartment where he grew up with his parents, before they died of successive heart attacks when he was in his mid-20s.
Here I am thinking Russians started drinking vodka as soon as they left the womb, but the country's richest man hasn't even tasted it. Consider that stereotype shattered.
Or how about Prokhorov's preference to live like your grandpa.
In some ways, Prokhorov is as Old World as the Safra estate. He doesn't carry a mobile phone and says he has looked at the Internet only three times, even though he has a blog which he updates by handing scraps of paper to his assistants. His office desk has no computer. Instead, there are papers and a large plate of fruit and nuts.
No Werther's Originals? Too bad. You can't truly be an old man until you've got a pocket full of butterscotch wrappers.
But there's so much more, like the fact that Prokhorov made his first fortune in the late 80's as a producer of stonewashed jeans, which is basically the perfect way to have made a lot of money back then.
Not to mention he was arrested on suspicion of running a prostitution ring, which turned out to be untrue. Plus the president of Russia's largest private bank said Prokhorov's purchase of the Nets was "playing with toys" and not "business decisions at all." Oh, and he bought a $45 million yacht he never uses because he gets seasick.
I could go on, because everything about this profile is incredible. Mikhail Prokhorov is like a movie character come to life, and he's going to own an NBA team. This is going to be excellent.