Last week, we pondered whether software tycoon Larry Ellison would soon become the NBA's craziest billionaire owner. Not a chance, once Mike "Mad Dog" Prokhorov suits up for the New Jersey Nets.
Mikhail Prokhorov's deal to buy the Nets is basically done, so he's been on a bit of media binge this week, showing Western reporters like Steve Kroft of CBS and Stephanie Baker of Bloomberg how he gets things done, Moscow-style. He doesn't use a computer—his desk is filled with delicious snacks instead—has never tasted vodka, exercises two hours a day not counting free throw practice, performs jet ski tricks like a pro, and managed to navigate the immensely corrupt world of post-Soviet capitalism without getting murdered. (Or having anyone else rubbed out! Good for him!) He also parties with dozens of beautiful women a night, despite dressing like a gigantic dork. Not a bad start.
Those women even saved his fortune. Prokhorov got his start selling acid-washed jeans in the late '80's (seriously) and then worked his way up through financial circles until he and a partner "won" a rigged auction to buy a gigantic mining operation from the state. They turned it into a money-printing factory, until there was that incident in France when he was accused of flying prostitutes into the country to entertain his friends at a ski lodge. The "embarrassing" scandal forced Prokhorov to sell his interest in the company ... about two months before the stock dropped 71%. He pocketed about $10 billion just as everyone else lost their shirts and then invested that money in a potential gold mine. Which turned out to be an actual gold mine, just before the price of precious metals went up 50%. He made out okay.
Guys like Elllison and Mark Cuban may be super fans who just want to be part of the team, but Prokhorov actually could work his way onto the Nets. The 44-year-old bachelor is 6'9", has a decent turnaround and loves Russian models. He's perfect for the NBA. Plus, he's a quote machine with a funny accent and an adorably sinister laugh. What's not to love, except the fact that he's buying the Nets and moving them into that monstrosity of a land swindle they will soon call an arena. At least Brooklyn's Russians have a new hangout.
If Ellison wants to take him down, he could always try ramming his 400-foot yacht into Prokhorov's "tiny" 200-ft version and sink it. Except Prokhorov wouldn't be on it because boats make him seasick. Oh, those crazy oligarchs and their misplaced boats.
The Russian Is Coming [Full Video via 60 Minutes]
Why Two-Meter Billionaire Says He's Only NBA Owner Who Can Dunk [BusinessWeek]
Why the New Jersey Nets Are Poised for a Spectacular Turnaround [Emeritus]
Previously: Is The NBA Ready For Another Insane Billionaire Owner?