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Prokhorov takes jab at Knicks owner

The Sports Xchange

--Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov referred to his new cross-town counterpart James Dolan of the Knicks as "that little man" in New York Magazine.

In the article describing the Nets marketing plan and approach to their brand accompanying a move from New Jersey to Brooklyn for the 2012 season, the focus is on whether the Nets can consistently fill the Barclays Center and establish Brooklyn as a glimmering borough of basketball hope.

The article reads: "Prokhorov told me back in December that he plans on attending a quarter of the regular-season games and 'all the playoff ones.' He also made sure that I heard him call Dolan 'that little man.'"

If Prokhorov has his way, the Nets will convert Knicks fans to pull for his team, as he said in his introductory press conference. The Nets put up a billboard around their new advertising campaign -- Blueprint to success -- featuring rapper and minority-share owner Jay-Z with Prokhorov across the street from Madison Square Garden.

He's making his presence felt -- in marketing, advertising and by bankrolling a player payroll that features a starting lineup made up of players all making at least $10 million per season -- but the Russian industrial magnate isn't the visible presence his ownership partner Jay-Z has been at Nets games.

Prokhorov is reported to be 6-foot-8, whereas Dolan isn't as tall but does have the advantage of a world-renowned arena in the heart of New York City.

--The Nets are going to get a chance to get off to a rousing start in their new home.

When the 2012-13 NBA schedule was released recently, it showed that the Nets will begin the new season with three straight home games.

The Nets will christen the Barclays Center with a nationally televised showdown against the rival New York Knicks, in the first of what should be several battles for Big Apple supremacy. The Nets-Knicks game to tip off the new season is slated for Nov. 1.

But then the Nets remain home for games against Toronto on Nov. 3 and Minnesota on Nov. 5.

The schedule remains favorable in the early going. After two road games, the Nets return home for three straight games against Orlando, Cleveland and Boston, which means that they will begin the new season with six of their first eight games at home in their new building. That's called a very favorable draw.

If there was ever a sign that the NBA believes in the Nets' dramatic turnaround, it's the league scheduling the Nets to face the Celtics on Christmas Day. When the NBA includes the once lowly Nets in their national television package, it means the turnaround is almost complete -- as long as the Nets stay healthy.

--While the Nets may be headed to Brooklyn, one of the borough's most famous native sons -- and its premier basketball fanatic -- isn't going with them.

Famed filmmaker Spike Lee, a native of Brooklyn who has set some of the movies he has directed like "Do The Right Thing," "Clockers," and "Crooklyn," in his hometown, is not going to give up his allegiance to his beloved Knicks.

The Barclays Center is located less than 10 blocks from where Lee grew up in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.

Lee appeared on a New York talk show with Nets CEO Brett Yormark, who had a goody bag of Nets paraphernalia to present to Lee in an attempt to have him become a Nets supporter.

The talk show host tried to put a Nets hat on Lee's head, and he vigorously shook his head to prevent the cap from touching him.

"I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asks me if I'm going to be a Nets fan because I could finance another film," Lee said. "The answer is, no, no and no. I can't do that. Can't. I'm orange and blue, baby. Orange and blue."

Lee was referring to the Knicks' team colors.

"It's only orange and blue," Lee said. "My son is going to be orange and blue and his son after him. And they are going to bury me in these colors in Brooklyn."

"Will it be a split crowd? I personally think there will be more Nets fans than Knick fans there. It's a great way to open, against a team hopefully will be our rival for years to come. The arena's going to be great." -- Nets G Deon Williams, when he learned the Nets will open their season and new arena, the Barclays Center, against the Knicks on Nov. 1.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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