Mikhail Prokhorov left no doubt Thursday that he is willing spend a considerable part of his vast fortune to win a championship. It is a tribute to the team's fans ... and make no mistake about it, good business. Few, if any, of his businesses have seen the growth in valuation the Nets/Barclays Center has. With team (of which he owns 80 percent) worth around three-quarters of a billion dollars and the arena (of which he owns 45 percent) worth a cool billion, Prokhorov's initial investment of $223 million in cash seems like one of sports best investments in recent years.
And he made no apologies about what he's doing: spending to win. Here are some excerpts of one of several impromptu interviews he gave yesterday in Brooklyn.
On spending money
"My reaction? We need a championship team. And frankly speaking, I will never discuss my passion and my investment money facing the Nets. And I think for me, it’s not the way to wait for 10 years for results. And I don’t think our fans will either."
On what this means for Brooklyn
"When I bought the team, I promised to create a championship contender and a team worthy of Brooklyn. So I think for the time being on this stage, I have done what I can. And now I think it it high time for the team to do the rest."
On the salary cap
"I think they’re still counting money in the back office but frankly speaking, I just hope the check doesn’t bounce."
On filling the team's needs
"I’ll do myself whatever I can do in order to reach championship level."
On how high will he go
"You know, it’s not a question to me, it’s a question to back office."
On the value of money
"In the NBA , money, it’s important, but you can’t buy a championship only spending money. What’s most important is to put pieces together and to create a championship contender. And frankly speaking, I’ll do whatever I can do in order to reach the championship here in Brooklyn. For me it was the goal when I bought the NBA team. Because from inside, for me there is only one place, and that’s first place."
On other owners feelings
"You know, we are very young franchise. And just when I invest in any kind of business I expect growing, really, with the franchise. But I’m lucky that since I bought the team the franchise of the team minimum trouble. That's why I’m willing to invest more to make Brooklyn franchise the best in the league."
On Andrei Kirilenko and suspicions of a side deal
"I think old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break. And I want to thank our fans and members of the press because they have been very quick to support us. And I respect all the NBA rules and we play by the NBA rules. But I want just to stress once again like with luxury tax, I will do whatever I can in order to win championship but under the NBA rules. Please make no mistake about this."
His spending was not lost on the media present, particularly those who've been around the league and the Nets for a long time. As Brian Mahoney, AP's basketball writer, tweeted,
2 things that must be stressed about Nets: Prokhorov is doing what any owner can do. Just must have wallet and stomach and most don't.— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) July 19, 2013
- Prokhorov wants Nets title - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- For Nets’ Prokhorov, $183 Million Is No Object - Howard Beck - New York Times
- New NBA economy suits Brooklyn Nets - Joseph Goodman - Miami Herald
- Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s win-at-all-costs mentality is reminiscent of late George Steinbrenner - Filip Bondy - New York Daily News
- Mikhail Prokhorov needles James Dolan; Hints that Kirilenko accusations are rooted in stereotypes - Dave D'Alessandro - New York Daily News
- Mikhail Prokhorov: Trade might help me avoid marriage - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Playing by the rules, Nets bring out jealousy with new talent - Ken Berger - CBS Sports