With all this speculation about who will coach the Nets next season, there's been little about a former player who wants back in the game and actually knows Mikhail Prokhorov. In fact, they've even played basketball together...in Moscow. Scottie Pippen was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame Monday and six weeks ago, he said he wants back in the game, as a coach, adding, "I expect to get back to the NBA soon".
There's no indication Pippen is a candidate for the head coaching job, but Prokhorov and Pippen are friendly. They played on the same team in a benefit game in Moscow 15 months ago. Pippen wore his old number, #33, while Prokhorov wore #23. 'Natch. The two men, both 44, were the stars of the game...for different reasons.
The game was sponsored by one of Prokhorov's pet projects, the Association of Student Basketball or ACB, Russia's version of the NCAA. It had its own All-Star game that same night. Prokhorov and Pippen handed out the awards together. Last May, Pippen was on hand at an ACB tournament in Sverdlosk to sign autographs and hand out awards. Then, three months ago, he was flown to another ACB All-Star Game, this one in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, where again he was the star of the show. Hosting him was Sergei Kushchenko, the Prokhorov sports executive who ran CSKA Moscow and now directs the Russian Biathlon Union. Even more recently, Pippen told a Russian sports journal he enjoys working with Russian youth and hopes some day one of the players he worked with will play in the NBA.
Did he get paid for his appearances? Almost certainly...but certainly, Pippen respects those with money, as do most NBA players. He had what Henry Abbott of True Hoop called "reverential" feelings toward Blazer owner Paul Allen. "There's nothing like having a few millions and some sense of business to make you appreciate the people with the billions," wrote Abbott last week.
In the footsteps of the NCAA (Machine Translation) - Cyril Blagov - Russian Sports Tribune