SURE, THE MOST interesting man in the world is the Dos Equis guy. But the second-most interesting man in the world is a 6-foot-8 globetrotting Russian playboy millionaire with pursuits in metals, gold, mining, denim, yachting, politics and the 24-second shot clock.
Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the NBA's Brooklyn, nee New Jersey, Nets, is a cross between Mark Cuban, George Steinbrenner and Richard Branson.
The second-most interesting man in the world - who bought the Nets from Bruce Ratner in May 2010 - has:
Before we get to any of that, it must be noted that Prokhorov, 48, ran as an independent candidate in the 2012 Russian presidential election, finishing third with 7.9 percent of the vote. Which makes Prokhorov a 21st-century version of George Wallace, John B. Anderson and Ross Perot.
(If you buy the Nets, you are a dreamer. If you run against Vladimir Putin, you are an impossible dreamer.)
When he bought the Nets, Prokhorov vowed to make them NBA champions within five years; like a politician, he's probably making a promise he cannot keep. His new catchphrase for the Nets is, "We're aiming for amazing," which, of course, sounds better than, "We're aiming for 45-37."
Prokhorov inherited the controversial, then-under construction Barclays Center - it's always nice when the public subsidizes a new arena for the 58th richest man in the world - and the building immediately was hailed as the savior of Brooklyn, which, unbeknownst to many of its residents, had been in steady decline since baseball's Dodgers left town in 1958.
(By the way, the construction of the arena - challenged unsuccessfully several times in court - was a case of moneyed interests once again plowing over unmoneyed interests, with the unmoneyed once again picking up a large part of the cost of the business. Or, as Prokhorov might eloquently state, "It's good to be in America.")
Armed with a personal fortune and the largesse of the community, Prokhorov decided to literally gather a lineup of all-stars. The Nets' starting five this season of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez has a combined 35 all-star game appearances, with 10-time all-star Jason Kidd the team's first-year coach.
At the moment, all that star power has led to a 3-6 record, which proves the old adage that you can lead a stable of stud horses to water but you can't make 'em hit an open jump shot.
Naturally, the price of assembling a super team - albeit, a flawed one - is NBA-astronomical. The Nets easily have the league's top player payroll this season: $101 million.