NBA Debate: Which Owner Would You Rather Have: Mark Cuban or Mikhail Prokhorov?

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2012

May 5, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban yells at the referees in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder during game four of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

While James Dolan is being trashed on the web for refusing to pay Jeremy Lin, let’s look on the bright side towards the NBA’s best owners: Mark Cuban and Mikhail Prokhorov.

Both are renowned for their extreme spending, power, and gravitation to news headlines, among other things.

This debate does not go down without any bad blood. The two owners have already fought over Deron Williams and entertained a kickboxing match against each other through the media.

So which of these star businessmen would you want running your team? The Dallas Mavericks' renegade Cuban or the newly-minted Brooklyn Nets' Prokhorov?

Let’s do this courtroom style.


The Case for Mark Cuban:

He's a "Player's Owner"

Cuban stands up for his players unequivocally. The Mavericks have a family culture and it all starts with their boss man.

He doesn't care about losing a couple thousand if somebody need to be called out. Referees, opposing players, coaches, you name it, he's gone after them. Soon enough, Hollywood will be making TV shows around this guy's mouth (this could be a ploy by Cuban to become a script for Hollywood, I’m still tinkering with the theory).

On top of that, he’s a straight shooter. His players will be protected from the media because he sticks with his guys wholeheatedly. Look at Shawn Marion in their championship year. He would get no love from the media for his defensive effort night in and night out. Cuban stood by his guy.

“It’s not a question if he’s first team,” Cuban said during his pregame stairmaster workout Monday evening. “The only question is, outside of the center position like a Dwight Howard, is he Defensive Player of the Year? I mean, it’s hard to overlook how Dwight Howard plays defensively, but beyond that, who’s better? Name one."

Well, wasn't Marion latched onto LeBron James in those fourth quarters of the 2011 NBA finals? Another quality effort by Marion that went unnoticed, but his owner made sure the basketball world knew about it.

I'd like to know my owners keeping up with the times just as I am watching 82 games night in and night out for months. Points for effort.


Prokhorov defense:

No one in the planet can keep up with the Russian billionaires whereabouts, let alone his Brooklyn players. You think he would know C.J. Watson if he was right in front of him? Debatable 


The Case for Mikhail Prokhorov:

Money and Power

The Brooklyn Nets owner sure isn't afraid to spend, going over the luxury tax this season with his starting lineup alone. The numbers: Deron Williams $99 million, Gerald Wallace $40 million, Brook Lopez $61 million and the remaining $89 million of Joe Johnson's contract. That’s without the 24 million dollar reality show formerly known as Kris Humphries.

Prokhorov is one serious spender; it almost seems like he's running a Premier League squad. As a player though, it sure is enticing knowing the your franchise's frontman is willing to fork over cash for your services.

In addition, it will be a selling point for NBA talent to come to Brooklyn: Our owner does not give a front door about cost. That idea coupled with the eccentric coolness of playing with Brooklyn, and in one year the Russian billionaire has made a New Jersey team cool. I don't even think New Jerseyites think that was possible.

Additionally, Prokhorov's reputation as one of the worlds’ most eligible bachelors has its allure. The man has more power and excess funds than any NBA player can dream of. Plus, for the young stars, this guy knows how to party and party big. 

With a Twitter account out there making fun of your immense power and Russian accent, you know life is going well. Oh, and there’s this.


Cuban defense:

The Mavericks owner was the original poster child for excess NBA spending. This is the sane guy who spent the most money on NBA salary and luxury tax from 1999 to 2011. When he won the NBA championship last year, he made a 360-degree turn in favor of a more calculated, team-building approach.

Cuban doesn’t fall too far from Prokhorov; but unlike the Russian, he no longer believes money can solely buy you championships. Team building and chemistry fit in there somewhere.



Hard to argue with Cuban's omnipresence as a figurehead. And of course, the championship ring on his finger.  

Prokhorov is just getting started, though. His first year in Brooklyn with his own max-contract players on payroll will shed some light on his true ownership style.

All in all, I got Cuban in this fight.