For Americans that don't recognize that name, Prokhorow is a 46 year old Russian citizen, born in Moscow, and an entrepreneur that made his fortune is the precious metals sector. Starting with nickel, and moving on to gold, he amassed an incredible amount of money through shrewd business decisions. Forbes magazine has him as the 32nd richest person in the world, worth an estimated $18 billion dollars.
He also just happened to buy the New Jersey Nets of the NBA a while back. Yours truly has no idea why he'd want to do that, but considering the man stands 6 foot 8, if he wanted to become involved with American sports, what would you expect him to invest in -- little league? Midget wrestling?
So now we delve into the world of sports and politics. Don't tell me they don't mix, because if you do, I'll remind you of something called the Sherman Anti-Trust Act that some American professional sports leagues are granted an exemption to, otherwise they would cease to exist, or at the very least look vastly different than they do now. And let's not forget about all those Congressional hearings when high ranking politicians hauled pro athletes to Washington DC, to testify about the steroids snafu.
Recently, Prokhorov declared his intent to seek the Presidency of Russia in their elections coming up next year. Very few in America batted an eye. Yet, can you imagine the political fall-out if wannabes such as Newt, Mitt, Michelle, Ron, or Rick, decided to buy a sports team in Russia? As is their way, the collective media would go berserk, the talking heads into hyper-drive, and it might well result in the largest headlines from the newspapers since John F. Kennedy got assassinated in Dallas. Certainly the tea-partiers would spontaneously combust.
My guess is, the good people of Russia would frown on it as well. And, of course, the TV show 60 Minutes would do an in-depth piece on somebody. If it got to the point where it had world-wide ramifications, then the heavyweights would have to step in. Like Larry King or Wolf Blitzer. Perhaps the only bigger news splash than that would be if the Nets actually won the championship. That might call for Barbara Walters, or at least Bob Costas.
Thing is, Prokhorov has little chance of becoming President. Why? Because he has to collect a few million signatures to even qualify to be on the ballot. And guess who's in charge of the people that oversee the validity of those signatures? Yep, Vladimir Putin. The ex-KGB guy that is also running -- again. Good luck with that, Mr. Prokhorov.
There's some not so strange parallels to be drawn here. Putin originally came to power on the mantra of saying super-rich people shouldn't be in charge. But consider: Money in and of itself is worthless. It's what it can buy that matters. Beyond lavish lifestyles it can turn into power. Yet, if one already has enough power to get whatever they want with the snap of a finger or the bark or an order -- then money becomes irrelevant, especially when the costs of doing business are already being taken from the commoners. I'm sure glad the concept of the rich controlling everything, while the middle-class is systematically eradicated and the poor get even poorer could never happen in this country. Right.
Did you know Moscow is the home of more billionaires than any other city on the planet? Forbes says Prokhorov checks in at #3 for the richest guy in town. That puts him right up there with people named Donald and Oprah.
There can be no doubt that Mikhail Prokhorov is an extremely intelligent man, but it leaves one to wonder.....
Why the New Jersey Nets? Why not the Yankees? I dare say America's had it's fill of the Steinbrenners. How about the Dallas Cowboys? Prokhorov could probably buy and sell Jerry Jones any time he got ready. The LA Lakers? Not so sure. Depends on how Jerry Buss has been doing in his high-stakes poker games. The Boston Celtics? Even blue-bloods have their price. It would appear with that sort of fortune he could have bought just about any team he wanted to. Except one.
While Mr. Prokhorov may be used to the climate, it wouldn't matter HOW much money he had. It would be wise of him to stay far away from Green Bay, and their beloved Packers. Some things just aren't for sale.
Maybe there's a bright side to this. As we all know, owners of professional sports franchises in America have been known to relocate their teams to another city over the years, for one reason or another. The list is long.
Perhaps Mr. Prokhorov might consider moving the Nets to Siberia. People from New York, the largest sports market in the world, would love it. Also, most Americans wouldn't even notice -- or care. It would definitely have the advantage of exposing the other teams to a different culture when they travelled there on road trips -- always a good thing.
Question. I know they wear mitts there, but are there any newts in Siberia?
But there's another issue that may have escaped the attention of many. If somehow Prokhorov pulls an "upset" and wins the Presidency of Russia, he would be commander-in-chief of their military. That means he would oversee Russia's vast array of sea forces. So correct me if I'm wrong, but would they then be referred to as, yikes, Mikhail's Navy?
This just keeps getting better.........