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Sports

Five Years Later, the Nets are Still Boring and so is Their Owner's Love Life

In which a sports owner updates everyone on a thing that nobody except him cares about.
July 29, 2015, 9:40pm
Photo via Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Did you know that Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets five years ago?

It's ok if you don't. Truthfully, there isn't a ton worth remembering about his tenure. The Nets were miserable when he started, winning a total of 46 games in the first two seasons after he purchased the team. The subsequent three years have been better – Brooklyn has made the playoffs each time – but they've reached the second round only once, and got their clock cleaned by Miami. They are basketball tapioca – not so bland that there is no taste, but certainly not a product that anybody actually enjoys consuming.

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This might not be a problem were it not for a pesky little guarantee Prokhorov made upon his introduction to the NBA world. "If everything goes as planned, I expect us to be back in the playoffs next season and [win a] championship in one year minimum, and maximum in five years," he said, and just to make sure everyone knew he wasn't messing around, he even threatened to get married if the Nets failed – because, apparently, he's not a fan of such commitments. Again, totally fine if you don't remember this.

Fast forward to The Year of Our Lord 2015 and, lo and behold, the Nets have not prevailed. Under normal circumstances, this would be the part where some enterprising fan or media member fires off a cheeky, "So, Mikhail, who's the lucky Mrs. Prokhorov, hyuk hyuk hyuk?" But, once more, these are the Nets – no one is paying attention. Nobody was going to do this.

So, like the most attention-starved kid you knew in high school, Prokohorov opted to home-brew his own drama in what amounted his state of the union address to Nets fans. It is all of one minute, 41 seconds long, and the first minute or so was devoted to the platitudes that one would expect an owner of an exceptionally mediocre, capped-out team to spit out. (We resigned our own free agents; we have a good culture; we're making strides; etc.). The remainder was an update on those rhetorical marriage prospects:

"You may remember my promise to get married if we didn't win a championship within five years. Sadly to say, five years have passed, and today I am very happy to say that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has agreed to take the plunge in my place. Adam, you are much better man than me. Thank you very much, and I wish you and your new bride every happiness."

Now, if I'm a Nets fan, this is the part where I get kinda pissed. After storming onto the scene a half-decade ago – Jet skis! Misplaced yachts! Russian Mark Cuban! – Prokhorov has become more drab with each passing year, almost as though the Nets amoeba has siphoned the personality out of his very marrow. The video itself is a portrait of a man who would seemingly rather be euthanized than spend two minutes cluing the fans of his hapless sports franchise in on whatever the hell amounts to a plan. Not that there was any real enlightenment to be found: The most engaging part of any of it was his decision to slip a sport coat over a Nets t-shirt. This, in Prokhorov's mind, is what amounts to transparency.

Had he explained his odd sartorial choices, or something—anything— about Nets basketball, this speech would all have been more engaging and informative. But instead, Nets fans got platitudes. This was probably the most Nets outcome possible, which is to say the most discouraging. If the owner can't be bothered to keep it interesting, what hope does the rest of the team have?