Chip Brown‘s piece details how the enormous Russian made his billions (in sketchy ways), how he hopes to transform the Nets, and his enjoyment of water sports.
As he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes a moment – it had been a long day, a hectic summer – I remembered a time in July, when we traipsed down to the Moscow River to a boathouse in the flood plain where he kept a naval strike force of Rickter skis. He squirmed into a padded wet suit and then jumped into the tea-colored water, a side channel off the main flow. The water was warm; God knows what was in it. He was up and away in no time on the Rickter ski, hulking over the tippy hull like an adolescent on a toddler’s bike. You could see the grasshopper in the Lada. At the touch of the throttle, the engine screamed like a furious chain saw, and he came ripping past the dock where a bunch of his friends were standing and then banked sharply, fanning up a tail of spray that sent them all dashing for cover. Out on the open water again, he gunned the craft in a hard circle, then cut back across the wave he’d raised, and the ski shot into the air, climbing the late gold light of a Moscow summer evening until Prokhorov was upside down with the 300-pound machine arcing over his head. He pulled it around full circle, thumping back into the water with a billowy thud. Again and again, he roiled the river and flung the Rickter ski off the waves through back flips and barrel rolls.