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Saturday, November 3, 2012
Mikhail picks sleep over watching Knicks

By Mike Mazzeo

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov did not watch the rival New York Knicks rout the Miami Heat on Friday night.

He was too busy sleeping.

"Yesterday I went to bed (at) 8 o'clock to be up (at) 4 in morning for great workout," Prokhorov joked during a candid and witty 17-minute news conference prior to Saturday's regular-season opener against the Toronto Raptors at the $1 billion Barclays Center.

Mikhail Prokhorov
Mikhail Prokhorov
Brooklyn hasn't had a professional team since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957. Fifty-five years later, the Nets call Brooklyn home -- and they have championship aspirations.

When Prokhorov purchased majority ownership of the team in 2010, he promised a title within five years. If that doesn't happen, the billionaire bachelor will get married.

"I have only three years left because I said if not, I would get married," Prokhorov said. "So maybe I am the most devoted guy for the championship."

Asked to define a successful first season in Brooklyn, Prokhorov responded, "our plan is maybe the conference finals."

But his ultimate vision isn't even close to being realized yet.

"We are waiting for the ring," Prokhorov said.

Prokhorov spent more than $300 million on contracts in the offseason in order to make that vision a reality. Led by stars Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, the Nets owner certainly believes he has a playoff team.

"It's my personal inside feeling," Prokhorov said.

It's up to coach Avery Johnson, who is in the final year of his contract, to make that happen.

"For Avery it's a very important year, because for maybe first time he has maybe good roster of talented players. For him it's also a great challenge," Prokhorov said.

Prokhorov said the Nets are creating a Brooklyn recovery fund to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

"I just wanted to say on behalf of myself and many many Russians who have been watching has been going on here the last few days, we're really wish all the people affected by storm a lot of strength," Prokhorov said. "And we hope that everything gets back to normal very, very soon. To you our thoughts and to those who waited out tonight for the game, thank you for the extra effort.

"And to those who wanted to be but couldn't and maybe are listening on radio or watching TV, we really hope to take your mind off of problems for a few hours, and really we are glad you are all with us in spirit. I think it's a great credit to this country and to this city that the game will go on despite the problems."

As for Saturday's regular-season opener, Prokhorov remarked, "I think it's a great day for the community. When I bought the Nets, I had a vision that this is a great opportunity because at that time they were worst team in the league and they were looking to move to a huge market. ... So I am very lucky now that Brooklyn is our home and we are part of the Brooklyn community."