Here’s the dude who could become the most intriguing sports story of 2010, that is “wild child” Russian Oligarch and new NBA team owner Mikhail Prokhorov:
(Prokhorov could leave hip-replaced Mark Cuban in NBA popularity dust)
Honest to god, if I didn’t live in L.A., where the NBA is by far the most popular spectator sport, I would’ve completely stopped following The League years ago. I know I’m not alone, the NBA has plummeted in popularity the past two decades, with the league bordering on irrelevance in many non-NBA markets.
On its surface, the sale of the New Jersey Nets and its arena project to Russian Billionaire Prokhorov is another bad sign for the league, spotlighting its rapidly weakening financial state. The (fire) sale of the Nets and former team owner Bruce Ratner’s once-grand Brooklyn arena project to Prokhorov essentially saved the franchise from financial ruin, but the move to welcome a Russian Oligarch’s money into the league borders on desperation.
No matter how David Stern spins it, this never would’ve happened pre-economic downturn.
Prokhorov’s splurge will be the first in a series of buy-ins in USA-based pro sports leagues from foreign interests - much like what has already happened to the English Premier League. But in the particular case of Prokhorov, I believe his presence will be the best thing that has happened to major pro sports in America in years. Read more…