(Prokhorov with Bruce Ratner, in photo from the Nets' web site.)
Here are some of the headlines, which hint at the low level of actual news:
- Owner Says the Nets and New Arena Remain Hard-Hat Zones, New York Times
- Nets owner Prokhorov starts courting Deron, New York Post
- Mikhail Prokhorov ready for "throwdown’ over Deron Williams, New York Daily News
- Nets owner Prokhorov jokes about "crushing" Mark Cuban over Deron Williams, The Record
- Prokhorov speaks in Brooklyn, NJ Nets Nation
- NETS: 6 Months Out, Prokhorov Tours Barclays Center Site, Nets site
- Nets’ Brooklyn Dream Is A Reality, NBA.com
- Mikhail Prokhorov dishes on D-Will, ESPN New York (with video)
- Prokhorov challenges Cuban to duel, weighs in on Dwight, D-Will. CBS Sports
- Mikhail Prokhorov vows to crush Mark Cuban in kickboxing if Deron Williams signs with Mavericks, Sporting News
- In His Rising Arena, Nets Owner Prokhorov Foresees His Team As NBA Chamption, NY1 (with video)
So I think I read the article in the Daily News that said that every 9-out-of-10 Brooklynites quite happy for the arena for the team moving. And I feel that Brooklyn deserves a professional team since the time the Dodgers left in 1957. And of course I know there is some kind of skeptical criticism, and of course it’s impossible to make happy just everyone, but I hope as soon as we start our season, because it’s not only basketball, it’s a great cultural events to tennis and another opportunity to make this like center, the heart of Brooklyn. I think even those who are skeptical now will join us. So we’ll do our best, because for us the spirit of community is very important.Prokhorov was well-prepared to cite and then distort shaky evidence (real estate fluffer Jason Sheftell's alleged random interviews of ten people), invoke the Markowitzian cliche of the Dodgers, and echo Ratnerian rhetoric.
As everyone knows, there’s no better substitute for substantive dialogue than a photo op and some glib remarks while standing in front of a construction site...
But glib is what Prokhorov does well, yet if you’re looking for something substantial, keep looking. He never gives the impression that he is in control of the Nets franchise, as even his clichés — “It is easy to have a playoff team, but it is very difficult to have a championship team, so we need to be very patient and go step by step” — are diametrically opposed to what his GM practices.
So it occurs to you: Prokhorov can’t speak of the future because he knows very little about the present. He threw some names out there (Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks) to signify that he’s been paying attention, but overall, he still sounds less engaged than the average towel boy.
It’s time to admit the obvious: We’re talking about an absentee owner here, as this guy never really had any intention of doing much more than writing checks.
Thank you all for being here. You’re right now standing in the Grand Atrium. You’ll see how large and beautiful it is. And then you come and get this magnificent view of the bowl. It’s tight, there will be a lot of noise there, a lot of action. It’s gonna be the most incredible arena in America, and maybe the world. But I’m not only here to tell you about the arena, I’m here to tell you about a partnership.According to the transcript, Ratner was asked "about the timeline for finishing the arena." His answer:
It takes teamwork to do something like this. From the very beginning it’s teamwork, and Iust want to say that probably, along this big journey, one of the best things I ever did, if not the best thing, was partner up with Mikhail Prokhorov. It’s not only because of the economics, that, of course, is good. But it’s because Mikhail Prokhorov, and his group, have been wonderful partners. We’ve worked together with real teamwork, and everything that I’ve ever done in life that’s been successful is about good teamwork and partnership. And so, with that, I’d like to introduce to you to, probably, the best partner I’ve had in my life, in terms of teamwork, working together, Mikhail Prokhorov.
We’re opening on September 28, that’s the magic date. We’re going to open, as you all know, with a Jay-Z concert. We’ll probably be pretty substantially completed about a month earlier, and work out bugs for about a month. We’re on time and on schedule, and it should be done with no problem.
But Bruce C. Ratner, the developer who sold Prokhorov 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of the arena, said that construction should be completed a month ahead of schedule, leading to a Sept. 28 opening with a Jay-Z concert.
Why wasn't I there? I was told it was for "accredited media" only, so they wouldn't let me in.
Then again, Prokhorov, according to the boosterish NetsDaily blogger "Net Income," aka Bob Windrem, "appreciates bloggers in both sports and politics" and was welcomed to Prokhorov's luxury box. It apparently depends on the bloggers.
Prokhorov on video (via NJ.com)
The Brooklyn Paper angle
The last question of the press conference was this:
You planning to buy a place in Brooklyn?
You know it’s just a great question for me, because the time being a rich Russian driving up the prices, so it’s not the best time to buy.
I don't think Prokhorov qualifies as "self-made." Sure, he's shown initiative and savvy, but oligarchs by definition have a lot of help. That's why they're oligarchs.