Do you know who that man is? Well, most of us at first glance probably have no clue who he is but that is Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov who is listed in the 40th richest man in the world by Forbes magazine and the richest man in Russia.
Then you might ask, what does he have to do with the NBA. Well, he wants to buy the New Jersey Nets to the sum of 700 million dollars.
We get more from the New York Daily News:
The Russian billionaire who is on the verge of funding the Nets’ long-awaited move to Brooklyn is a hard-partying bachelor who was arrested in 2007 on suspicion he was involved in an upscale prostitution ring.
Mikhail Prokhorov, recently named the 40th wealthiest man in the world by Forbes, has an estimated net worth of $9.5 billion. And while Forbes estimates that the 43-year-old tycoon lost approximately 51% of his fortune in the last year, Prokhorov is still reportedly close to issuing a $700 million bond through his investment firm, Onexim, that would help Nets owner Bruce Ratner build the long-delayed Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.
Prokhorov, who reportedly could also take over a majority stake in the team if a deal is reached, was arrested in January 2007 while on vacation at a French ski resort when police cracked down on a suspected prostitution ring. According to numerous reports at the time, Prokhorov told investigators that he flew beautiful women in from Russia because he enjoyed their company.
However, investigators suspected that Prokhorov had supplied the women as prostitutes to his wealthy friends and kept the billionaire in custody for several days before releasing him and dropping the charges. Prokhorov later told the French press that “my winter vacation in France was spoiled by local police, who arrested me and my friends without giving any reasonable explanations.” A Ratner spokesperson refused to comment on Prokhorov’s controversial past.
I’m pretty sure that most of us have used “my winter vacation” excuse many times. However, I have no qualms about someone from overseas taking a stake in the NBA. It can only help globalization along with the fact that the Nets stalled project to Brooklyn might be jump-started again.
This also might make a move that the NBA could move overseas or at least get an expansion team in Europe. However, that might put more teams at a distinct disadvantage, where would you rather go as a free agent, Memphis or Spain? Also, I do not think there is any red-blooded American who has a problem with a billionaire who has a frequent liking of hookers.
In closing, this deal might be good for the league if it goes through. Hell, the worst case scenario is that it eliminated Mark Cuban as the most eccentric NBA owner.