SBD/October 31, 2012/NBA Season Preview

Nets Owner Prokhorov Discusses Brooklyn Move, Management Style

Prokhorov says he sought to purchase an NBA team in a big market
Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov said his management style is to “find the best people available and then give them free rein to do their work,” according to Steve Serby of the N.Y. POST. Prokhorov said, “It would be silly for me to interfere in questions that really are not my area of expertise. At the same time, with independence comes accountability.” Prokhorov participated in a recent Q&A and the following is an excerpt from that interview:

Q: Why did you want to own an NBA team so badly?
Prokhorov: This was just a wonderful opportunity -- a down-and-out franchise about to make a historic move to Brooklyn, a new arena, a chance to really build something and make my mark. I wasn't interested in buying any team at any price. I really wanted a big market, and when this opportunity came along with a great partner in Bruce Ratner it was obviously the right thing to do.

Q: Why will you be [Knicks Owner James] Dolan and the Knicks’ worst nightmare?
Prokhorov: Having a rivalry in New York is great for everyone. This city will have so much to talk about and cheer about.

Q: Why should [Heat F LeBron James] and other free agents want to play for the Brooklyn Nets?
Prokhorov: If two years ago we had to tell potential players about our vision for the team, now they can actually see it. I honestly can’t imagine any players not wanting to look seriously at our franchise (N.Y. POST, 10/30).

MIC CHECK: In a special to the N.Y. TIMES, Nets play-by-play announcer Marv Albert wrote, “When I call their first regular-season game at Barclays Center, on Thursday night against the Knicks, I will not be curious about whether the move from New Jersey will go well. It will. I will want to know if a hard-core Nets crowd will be at the arena. One of my measuring sticks for the success of the Brooklyn Nets will be their ability to overwhelm the sound and presence of Knicks fans.” He added, “Around the city, people keep asking me about the Nets -- at a rate that I never thought possible.” The Nets are “a likable group, and even without playing a game they’ve become popular.” Albert: “I think they’ll win over kids who haven’t developed loyalties yet.” The Nets are “finally being embraced, perhaps for the first time since Julius Erving’s heyday.” The Nets now can challenge the Knicks “as they never did from Long Island, Piscataway, the swamps of New Jersey or Newark” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30).
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