Mikhail Prokhorov on the Nets, T-Will and best seat in the house
This interview by Slava Malamud of Sport-Express happened on the Nets opening night and before the 2-0 season start, but it’s still good.
Here’s what Mikhail Prokhorov said:
I’m going home after the Sunday game vs. Miami. This is a great busy trip: five days, three games. Right now I’m very busy in Russia, but I want to keep my promise and attend 25 percent of the Nets home games.
When are you coming back to America?
It’s a state secret. You can make a bet if you want.
Do you have any other business plans here?
I’ll have several meetings with businessmen and politicians. I want to get a feel of the atmosphere surrounding the team. Who knows, maybe after we win the title I will make another successful deal here. But I don’t rush it.
The Knicks are already on the defensive. Did you see the mural in Brooklyn?
I did. Amare looks sad. It seems like he wants to play in Brooklyn in a couple years.
They also brought Timofey Mozgov to visit Brighton Beach.
I’m just glad that a second Russian player has joined the NBA, and that’s all.
Do you plan to bring in international players on the Nets – maybe even Russians?
We will invite the best players we can. If you have a good team, it doesn’t matter where the players come from. CSKA Moscow is a great example. One of the best players on the team is an American, JR Holden, and he is extremely popular in Russia. Whenever CSKA goes, people adore him. Even in Siberia.
Do you still think the Nets will make the playoffs this year?
There are still 82 games ahead. At the end of the season New Jersey will be a much better club than last year. We need time.
Earlier you said the Nets would definitely reach postseason. Did you plan change?
I will comment on this later.
During the offseason the club has made several attempts to sign a star player. What did you learn from these first failures?
That there is a strong competition in the NBA. I like it. I love to overcome difficulties.
Three moths ago you were saying that any player would want to join your team. Why do you think it’s not happening yet?
I think we lack good publicity. When your team has finished last the previous season, it’s hard to break the wall of distrust that stands between the club and the star players. But the situation is changing. We are very optimistic.
Did you take part in the Nets’s attempts to get Carmelo Anthony?
I’d be glad to answer this question, but unfortunately I can’t because of the NBA rules.
Do you already have a clear picture of a team the Nets will become?
I saw the team in Moscow. I basically practiced with them. What can I tell about the team? It’s young. We have 11 new players. Time, we need time… The trip to Moscow was remarkable, by the way. It was the first step towards making the Nets a global team. Everybody enjoyed it a lot, especially the kids in Moscow. Imagine how startling it was for them to step on the court with NBA players.
Aside from making the playoffs, what do you expect of this season?
I want to enjoy it. Watching a game, I prefer to feel like a fan.
What do you like the most about this team?
Are you sure that by 2012 there will be a new arena in Brooklyn?
One of the players – Terrence Williams liked it that you called him T-Will right away.
I have a special system for gathering information on every player. I’m sorry, but I can’t talk about it.
Are you worried about the possible lockout next year?
Only one person can answer this question – NBA commissioner David Stern.
Are you going to watch the Nets games from the courtside seats or from the top?
From the top. I like to watch the games from a bird’s-eye view. This way it’s easier to understand the structure, the logic of the team game. When you sit courtside close to the players you get overwhelmed with emotions, but it’s very hard to get the nuances. And this is important for me. Also I prefer to stay perfectly calm.
Aren’t you worried now?
I’m perfectly calm.
Is it a big day for you?
A big day? No. It’s just a good day.