- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Mikhail Prokhorov just can't help himself.
Asked during a television interview on FOX5 if the Nets were ready to take on the Knicks, Prokhorov jokingly responded, "Excuse me, what is that name?
"Ah, oh, Knicks. Yes, I've heard about this second team in New York."
Prokhorov then said in a more serious tone: "I think we're getting to where we will have an epic rivalry. It will be great for the fans, for the basketball. I think really, the coming of the arena and team to Brooklyn, we can put finally put New York on the map. It's about time."
The Nets played in New Jersey for 35 years before moving. They will make their regular-season debut as the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 1 -- against the Knicks -- at the $1 billion Barclays Center.
Clearly, Prokhorov enjoys needling his franchise's East River rivals.
Recently, he referred to Knicks owner James Dolan as "that little man" during an interview with New York Magazine.
After buying the Nets in 2010, Prokhorov claimed that he was going to "turn Knicks fans into Nets fans."
That summer, a massive billboard appeared across from Madison Square Garden that featured Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z, along with the slogan, "The Blueprint for Greatness."
The Nets haven't made the playoffs since 2006-07, but Prokhorov allowed GM Billy King to spend around $330 million to turn the team from a pretender into a contender.
The Barclays Center opens up on Friday night with the first of eight sold-out Jay-Z concerts.
2dESPN Stats & Information
2dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo
16dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford