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Prokhorov brushes off slur after Brooklyn Nets 'absentee owner' jibe

January 17, 2014, 15:22 UTC+3 NEW YORK

Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov says he has no plan to sell the basketball club, despite rumors in the press

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Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metsel

NEW YORK, January 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian billionaire and former presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov has dismissed recent media criticism of being an "absentee owner" of NBA basketball league team Brooklyn Nets and says he has no plan to sell the club, despite rumors in the press.

The New York Daily News reported earlier in the month that the Russian tycoon visited only one game of his club since the beginning of the 2013/2014 season, saying in particular that “On the list of absentee NBA owners, Prokhorov is probably at the top.”

“Do you really think that I must be sitting in the arena to see the game?" Prokhorov asked. "My friends, we are living in the 21st century,” he told a news conference, adding that he still intended to win the championship with the club, which he has owned since 2010.

“I have not the slightest intention or desire to sell the club,” he said. “You can ask me the same question after I win the [NBA] championship ring with the Nets.”

According to the daily, bachelor Prokhorov pledged earlier that the team would win the championship by 2015 or he would punish himself by getting married.

The 48-year-old billionaire bought the then New Jersey Nets in 2010 for $200 million and later relocated the team to Brooklyn, which has a large Russian population.

Brooklyn Nets is not doing well this season, currently ranked 8th in its Eastern Conference standings with 16 wins and 22 defeats. Last season, the team finished with a record 49 wins and 33 defeats, the second-best record in the Atlantic Division.

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