Three Years: Mikhail Prokhorov’s Hits

Mikhail Prokhorov
(AP)

March 28, 2010: 60 Minutes Interview

Just over a month before officially taking over the Nets, Prokhorov made his introduction to America in grand fashion via a 60 Minutes interview/profile with Steve Kroft. The profile included everything from an overview of his business history to scenes of him doing jet-ski tricks and, of course, awesome Bond villian-esque quotes.

“I’m addicted to sport. Without sport I feel bad. In this case, it is some kind of drug,” said Prokhorov, immediately following footage of him kickboxing with the Russian national team coach, who comes up to Prokhorov’s nipples. When asked if Prokhorov’s two hour-a-day workouts served to reduce stress, he responded, “I like to be stress. It is my competitive advantage.”

Prokhorov took Kraft around his mansion, showing off his fitness center, pool, assault rifles (eat your heart out, Ted Nugent), and the model of Prokhorov’s 200-foot boat, whose real-life counterpart he didn’t know the location of. He gets seasick, after all. Heli-skiing and extreme jet-skiing? Sure. Yacht rides? Nyet. Prokhorov also treated Kroft to dinner, with regional delicacies flown in for the event, Russian celebrities and endless bottles of Chateau Latife Rothschild 1995, priced at about $500 per bottle.

“Frankly speaking, I like women. In my heart, I am still teenager,” said the bachelor Prokhorov, who loves the ladies almost as much as he likes his food. Ever the progressive, the single billionaire has yet to settle down because he hasn’t found a woman who cooks well enough to marry.  “The way to the man’s heart is through his stomach.”

On the female front, the billionaire playboy was taken into custody in 2007 by French officials, who mistakenly thought Prokhorov was promoting prostitution when he brought eight models to a ski resort for a getaway with his friends.  Prokhorov was held in custody for three days, which he said “was real fun for me. It was a good experience.”

The charges were dropped, including a bro shout-out from French President Nicholas Sarkozy, but it was enough of an image hit that his business partner convinced Mikhail to sell his shares of their joint ventures. He did, netting nearly $10 billion just two months before the international stock market crash in 2008.  Without the French scandal, Prokhorov might not have sold his shares in time; while he would still be obscenely rich, he might not have been as astronomically wealthy as to go searching for pro sports teams in America. So thanks to Russian models.

The profile also includes boring tidbits, like Prokhorov not using a cell phone or computer (“We have too much information. And it’s really impossible to filter it.”), surviving a slew of contract killings of Russian businessman in the early 1990s (“It was a territory with no sheriff. No rules. You had to survive.”)  and his rise to power as a Russian oligarch.  The one power he wishes he had that he doesn’t currently have? “Sometimes, maybe, to be less tall.”

For fans upset with the current Brooklyn Nets, the segment provides some context for the team Prokhorov took over.  Scenes from a February 2010 loss to the Heat, which dropped the New Jersey Nets to 5-48, show throngs of empty seats, in addition to the bored and unsatisfied fans that did show up. On the court, Courtney Lee misses several jumpers, Kris Humphries mishandles a pass from Jarvis Hayes, and Yi Jianlian grabs a rare offensive rebound off his own miss on a drive that he should have put home to begin with.

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