First Brooklyn, then... the world.
In a move more shocking than any rumored trade involving Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has announced his intention to challenge Vladimir Putin for the Russian presidency.
The 46-year-old policital newcomer was elected to lead Russia’s Right Cause party in late June, and at the time made minor waves with his statements about the country’s need for a multi-party system.
The tens of thousands of protesters on the streets in Russia are also looking for change — but the difficult task facing Prokhorov is earning their support.
For what he lacks in experience, Prokhorov makes up for in fortune. With an estimated worth of $18 billion, Prokhorov has financial means to build a large-scale campaign, but uniting the masses crying out for clean elections and an end to corruption is a daunting task.
So far, Prokhorov has the support of his coach and players, at least.
“He is pretty smart,”Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “He has great leadership skills. When you are behind the scenes and you are talking to him you know he is a special person. It wouldn’t surprise me. He just wants us to stay focused on basketball. Whatever is happening in Russia will take care of itself in March sometime.”
“He is a man of little words, but he’s cool, a laid-back guy,” said guard Anthony Morrow, who said he would vote for Prokhorov. “I can tell he is one of those guys who walks into a room and has this presence about him, a tall guy. He’s a good dude. Any conversation I’ve had with him, he’s been cool.”
Can’t you see the campaign posters now? “Vote Prokhorov! He’s a good dude!”
Meantime, Prokhorov and the Nets face the daunting task of continuing to build up their team ahead of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
Last week, the Nets were rumored to have met with disgruntled Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard to discuss a possible trade. That move never materialized, but it did spark speculation of tampering — a charge that could derail the team’s efforts to re-sign star point guard Deron Williams and build the team around him in its new Brooklyn arena next season.
“Short of burning down the Barclays Center, we can’t think of a worse thing Prokhorov could do when it comes to undermining his chances of getting Williams to agree to move to Brooklyn.”
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