Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #16: Mikhail Prokhorov

22 Feb

In an attempt to include all of the sports, I would like to present you with a massive dick from the land of professional basketball.  Now, are most basketball players ego driven and selfish ergo “dicks” to begin with?  Yeah, kinda.  Will I be overly disappointed if the NBA locks out because the players want more money when the owners are, in fact, losing large amounts of money?  Probably won’t lose sleep over it  But this entry brings a lot more to the table.  Specifically money.  He is not a man like the rest of the mortals.  He is the one thing more powerful than Superman AND Wolverine…combined.  He is…a Russian Billionaire.

Because owners of New Jersey Franchises get to meet with the Mayor of New York all the time.

Yes, the New Jersey Nets were purchased by a Russian billionaire who seems hell-bent on making them a force in the NBA.  Fair enough.  This is the natural progression of global commerce and a free market.  The interesting side of this story began not THAT the Nets were sold, but the awesome stories surrounding the new owner.  To be fair, I’m not sure how you begin to build a global brand from New Jersey to Brooklyn to Moscow.  Mikhail Prokhorov has assumed great personal wealth to the tune of $9.5 Billion or $13.4 billion (I’m not going to quibble over billions) at 6’8”, he is an avid athlete who loves competition as much as the next man.

This one really hasn’t sunk in yet, but fear not!  This is not the story, this is merely background information to set up the grandiose person who lurks beneath this drab/seemingly stereotypically stoic appearance.  While this man has billions of dollars he has also lost 10 billion dollars and doesn’t care if you read his magazine (which may not have the most “legitimate” finances).  How much money can you have that you don’t care about losing money on one of your assets?  What kind of life do you lead?

Sure, every rich person tries to do this

Well he has also been known all over for his daredevil stunts including jet skiing, not to mention the fact that he has played basketball and is an avid workout nut. He is also considered to be controversial by a Nets web site. Models, financial questions, and a notably extremist mentality when dealing with people and business. I think we have something to work with.  Oh and there was a little issue where he was throwing parties where he was buying prostitutes for people.  He has done the amazing magic act of making the Nets appear legitimate. Though he did have to eat about 100 million dollars in debt from the team (which kinda shows how fragile the NBA is, but I digress).  Let’s go with one of the biggest dick moves anyone has EVER pulled.

A middle finger would have been cheaper and more direct

This is a copy of a GIANT billboard that Prokhorov and his business partner Jay-Z put up in the Knicks backyard.  When I say backyard, I mean they put it in New York City.  When I say they put it in New York City, I mean they possibly put it in Manhattan.  When I say they put it in Manhattan, I mean the put the thing RIGHT THE FUCK ACROSS THE STREET FROM MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.  A 225’x95′ mural right across the street from your local rival.  I gotta say I respect the audacity but wow are you a dick.  The Nets, who have a minimal history mired by losing, had the balls to buy a mural mocking the Knicks.  That would be like the Pittsburgh Pirates coming to town to mock the Yankees.  Normal people just don’t try things like this.  Humility is not a word you will find in this article.  And he has changed the game in pursuing free agents (because why the hell not).

Remember the incessant Lebron decision?  Yeah that was a dick move too.  But he also got the Nets in the running for Lebron based on making him a global icon and a billionaire.  Lebron, who famously said he wanted to win now, was tempted to go to a team that got the 3rd overall pick and was in danger of setting a record for the most losses to begin a season.  Why would he want to go there?  Because when a guy says I’m going to make you a billion dollars, you listen.  If you’re a free agent, you can be sure that you’ll get the opportunity to sit and have a vodka with this guy.

And, with a current example, Carmelo Anthony was also being courted by the Nets.  Again, we ask why he would want to go there  But, I see something deeper in this based on what the Nets were offering for Carmelo.  As we know, Carmelo wanted and got to go to the Knicks.  But look to what the Nets offered.  4 first round picks and 2 players that WERE first round picks.  Think about this for two seconds, a team in line for a lottery pick trading 4 of its next picks and 2 of it’s decent players just for one player (basically).  That doesn’t look like a situation for winning basketball, but what it does look like is a guy upping the ante just to screw over his rival team.  Did the Knicks give up too much? Maybe, but they sure as hell were not going to get a steal on this one.

While it’s not for us to say anything about how this man may make his finances or the legitimacy of his businesses, we do know he is an all-time dick when it comes to how he runs his team.  And we love it. I see no signs of the relentless taunting coming to an end with the Nets moving to Brooklyn.  Hey, I guess you’re allowed to talk back when your rival has made such brilliant business moves.  What is it about New York sports franchises and creative business moves (see Carl Pavano, Alexei Yashin, Rick DiPietro, I should stop).  See, we went an entire post without saying anything stereotypical about rich, successful Russians.

I couldn't help myself.

Hey, at least I didn’t call them the Nyets.

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