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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Stern brokers Dolan, Prokhorov meeting

By Ian Begley

NEW YORK -- Planning for the 2015 All-Star Game started about two years ago when the NBA floated the idea of co-hosting the game to Knicks and Nets ownership.

One of the more interesting subplots in the process was a meeting brokered by NBA commissioner David Stern between Knicks owner James Dolan and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

All parties involved downplayed the significance of the meeting during a news conference Wednesday to announce the Knicks and Nets will co-host the 2015 All-Star Game.

"Each of them were very receptive to the idea," Stern said. "They thought it would be a good idea to get together, that's all."

Irina Pavlova, the president of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment and Prokhorov's representative, echoed those thoughts Wednesday.

"You know, this whole thing is totally blown out of proportion," Pavlova said. "They are two owners of two New York teams that never actually sat down and talked before. So they got together, they had lunch, they talked, it wasn't like there was a hatchet to be buried or anything."

Asked what he got out of the meeting, Dolan, who rarely speaks with reporters, cracked, "Free lunch."

All jokes aside, it's significant that the owners sat down together.

The front offices of both their teams have been embroiled in a bit of a turf war since the Nets announced plans to move to Brooklyn.

In July 2010, the Nets unveiled a 22-story billboard across the street from Madison Square Garden that included a picture of Prokhorov and then-minority share owner Jay Z with the words "Blueprint for Greatness."

Prokhorov also referred to Dolan as "that little man" in a New York Magazine article. Dolan reportedly was livid after each incident, but he downplayed any animosity between himself and Nets ownership Wednesday.

"[Rivalries] are nothing but good, they're nothing but fun for the fans and they are great for business," he said.

Both Dolan and representatives from the Nets stressed that the 2015 All-Star Game is a chance to put the East River Rivalry aside and promote hoops in New York City.

"To our friends in Brooklyn," Dolan said, "like so many other times when New Yorkers put their differences aside for something bigger, we are looking forward to giving our rivalry a rest, for a little bit, to ensure that we deliver the very best All-Star experience the league has ever held."

WILL ALL-STAR GAME BE BACK SOON? NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the Nets will have "an opportunity" to host the game in the coming seasons.

He said it was possible the Knicks would join the Nets as hosts again. But it would be "up to the Knicks" if they wanted to host the 3-point and dunk contests.

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