Those crazy Russian oligarchs. They are such jokesters.
Mikhail Prokhorov, the absurdly wealthy owner of the Brooklyn Nets, is an interesting fellow. He famously declared two years ago that the Nets would win and NBA title within five years, and despite bolstering the roster by adding Joe Johnson to a core of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace during the offseason, the Nets still appear to be pretty far away from that goal.
There was an addendum on Prokhorov's championship promise that is not often talked about, though. Rather than let it fade away, the Russian billionaire brought it right back into the fore in an interview with the New York Post, revealing that there is no challenge -- not even holy matrimony -- that he is afraid to face.
"I have said that if the Nets don't win the NBA championship within five years, I will punish myself by getting married," Prokhorov is quoted as saying. "We are in year three. So no one is more interested in winning a championship than yours truly."
His tongue-in-cheek remark on marriage was only one of several amusing comments Prokhorov gave in the interview as part of the lead-up to the Nets' highly anticipated home opener on Thursday. He said he would like Chris Rock or Danny DeVito to play him in a movie of his life -- due to the "obvious physical resemblance" -- and that he and the Nets should be Knicks owner James Dolan's "dream come true" for the in-city rivalry created.
Prokhorov also knows his limitations, as evident by his response when he was asked when he might take the stage with Nets part-owner Shawn Carter (better known as "Jay-Z").
"One thing this planet does not need," Prokhorov said, "is me rapping."
On a serious note, Prokhorov also listed Catherine the Great, 15-time Olympic medalist Nikolai Andrianov and Alexander Gomelsky, coach of nearly every relevant Russian or Soviet national basketball team sine 1963 (with the exception of the controversial 1972 Olympic gold medalists) as leaders he has admired.
He would also like to meet Ivan the Terrible, Benjamin Franklin and Honey Boo Boo. Hey, somebody has to keep them entertained.
Prokhorov did not get to where he is simply by cracking wise, though. He offered a reminder of his competitive side and why so many NBA experts believe he is a force to be reckoned with when the Post asked him when he expects the Nets to win a title.
"In June," he responded.