Leaving year two of Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's five-year quest for NBA world domination, the team had about as bright a future as a gulag road gang. But escape from Siberia — um, Newark — and a new identity now has the Russian megalomaniac setting goals once again.
The mostly heard —but rarely seen — owner was actually in his luxury box to watch his Nets play the Toronto Raptors in the first regular season game at his Barclays Center showcase Saturday night.
Old Prokie — who has already declared that Deron Williams is the league's best point guard and his revamped $330 million squad is one "that can put together the great story of a championship" — is starting year three of his five year plan for an NBA championship.
Asked what would define the Nets' success after the first season in their new Brooklyn home, Prokhorov was straightforward.
"A conference final," he said.
The billionaire owner sounded like the Nets 107-100 win in front of a sellout crowd of 17,732 was a small step towards his grand plan of bringing an NBA title to the Nets by 2015.
"We are waiting for the ring," he added. "I am the most devoted guy for the championship to happen."
Prokhorov took what also sounded suspiciously like a dig at his arch-rival, the New York Knicks, before the tip-off of last night's game when asked about the Knicks rout of the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden a day earlier.
"Yesterday, I went to bed at 8 o'clock (tipoff time) in order to be up at 4 a.m. for my great workout," he said, suggesting he didn't even care to watch the game.
Prokhorov is backing up his words with cash — and plenty of it. Penalties for the NBA luxury tax be damned.
"It concerns me only to the level we can reach championship or not," he said. "That's it. My (money) is still in very good shape."