Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is one of the more eccentric owners in the NBA. He’s not eccentric like Mark Cuban, shouting at referees and criticizing the NBA with no regard for money (although Prokhorov also seems to have little regard for money), but more in the way that he’s a mysterious model-dating, martial-arts-practicing, jet-ski-riding international man of mystery billionaire.
In January, reports surfaced that Prokhorov was already looking to sell his team. He put those rumors to rest a few months later, reaffirming his commitment to the Nets. How dedicated is he really, though? Apparently, dedicated enough to fly in for his team’s training camp in North Carolina and personally put them through a workout, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.
“I think my preference was to come personally, and to say hello to the players and to the coaches,” said Prokhorov, who was making his first stateside visit to training camp since buying the team in May 2010. “I think it’s very important for the new team to have special team building, and of course the commitment of ownership as part of the team.
“But I also wanted to share with them my own experience with martial arts, and I really will be happy if it helps them in some way.”
Prokhorov started by showing off his push-up skills, which are obviously formidable. Then he displayed his ability to… dribble two balls against different surfaces.
He then had the players try their hand at some weird dribbling drill in which they were on all fours and had to alternate dribbling hands.
One player who wasn’t able to experience Prokhorov’s workout was Deron Williams, whom the Nets bought out this summer. This was not a case of a team trying to do right by a player, but rather getting rid of one that apparently wanted out for some time. When Prokhorov was asked about Williams’ departure, the billionaire didn’t even bother mentioning his name.
“I will say in that way that we have a great leader at point guard in Jarrett Jack,” Prokhorov said. “All the league knows what Jarrett is about.”
Prokhorov then added, “I will say that I discussed all the player moves with Billy, and I signed off on all of them.” He then declined any further comment on Williams, who joined the Mavericks after taking a buyout.
The message here is pretty clear: Prokhorov is focused on the Nets (and crazy push up/dribbling drills, apparently), and since that no longer includes Deron Williams, he’s of no concern to the Nets owner.
(Via New York Post)