Monday, June 27, 2011
Kushchenko speaks with media
By Mike Mazzeo
Sergey Kushchenko , Executive Director of the Russian Biathlon Union and a member of the Nets board of directors, met with the media on Monday afternoon.
Kuschenko was invited by Nets owner Mikhail Prohkorov to take the position as CEO for the Russian Biathlon Union in 2009. On Sept. 2, he was elected as the first vice-president of the International Biathlon Union.
He remains Prokhorov's chief adviser for sport affairs. In May, 2011, he was appointed to the Nets board of directors.
Here's what he had to say:
What will be your role with the team?
The first thing would be communications. We can bring from the New Jersey Nets to the projects that I’m already working on with Mikhail, from basketball projects to the student league to other sports ventures. He will be analyzing how the organization works at this point.
What I can bring to the team, is that I believe Mikhail and myself are the only people on the board who have the champion title, since we won two of them in Europe. That knowledge and that expertise, we can bring into the NBA. Of course, the levels are different, but nevertheless it’s something I can bring in. Obviously, the most important strategy for any club is to win a title, so I’ll use my expertise on the subject. I’ll also be sitting on the board and be part of any of the major decisions that will take place.
Will you be staying Moscow or New York?
I’m frequently coming to New York. I will be traveling back and forth, as I have been doing, except now I will be formally a part of the decision making. It will depend on the type of connections we have developed and I’ll choose the best medium for it. If I need to get involved more frequently, I live in flight – literally – so I’ll find a way.
How did you get into basketball?
When I was in seventh grade, the coach came into school and looked at the tall guys – I was the tallest at the time! – and picked me. That’s where it started.
What will be your main focus?
I will be involved where I feel my expertise is the greatest: team-building, structure, building the organization. So it will probably be all the areas.
What is your relationship to Mikhail?
Mikhail played a very important role in my life; he asked me to participate in his sport projects. And what’s really important to me is I feel that I’m not working for Mikhail – I’m working with Mikhail, and together we achieve victories and successes in our ventures.
How much knowledge do you have about the NBA?
I’ve been watching NBA and communicating with the NBA – not just clubs, but the NBA office – for over 10 years and accumulated a lot of knowledge. At the end of the day, I’ll rely on the expertise that is currently here: Avery (Johnson), Billy (King) and others. But I can bring a lot of creativity to existing structure. I feel I understand how the NBA works and how clubs operate and I will be contributing in the areas where I feel strongest, bringing creative ideas in building an organization.
In addition to learning about the NBA, we already have successful projects behind us, like the 2006 NBA Europe Live in Moscow and other projects.
Will there be other Russian players besides Andrei Kirilenko and Timofey Mosgov?
Those are the two. We will not lose an opportunity to harvest new names.