the sports section

NBA Clears Brooklyn Nets of Russian Stereotype

Russian metals tycoon and US basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov gives a news conference in Moscow on December 12, 2011 to announce that he intended to challenge Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential elections.
Mikhail Prokhorov. Photo: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Iamges

Earlier this off-season, former All-Star Andrei Kirilenko opted out of a $10 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves to play for the Brooklyn Nets for about $3 million. Rival executives immediately suggested that something fishy might be going on between Kirilenko and multibillionaire Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who are Russian buddies from back in the day — specifically, that Prokhorov was making up the difference (or more) by paying Kirilenko off the books and thus avoiding the restrictions of the NBA’s salary cap. But a “very, VERY thorough” league investigation has turned up no evidence of wrongdoing“Old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break,” says Prokhorov, who then turned to a stereotype and whispered, “I must break you.”