Historical Footnote

Historical Footnote


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com


The former Soviet Union underwent a quiet revolution during the latter part of the 20th century (1985-1991) that culminated in a bloodless transition from communism to capitalism. Mikhail Prokhorov was one of the major beneficiaries of this profound change.*

In the aftermath of Mikhail Gorbachev\’s Glasnost and Perestroika, Mikhail Prokhorov, quietly accumulated mining interests in enterprises like the bankrupt Norilsk nickel-mining and smelting plant in Siberia that would ultimately comprise one of the cornerstones for his vast empire of wealth. He literally went from selling jeans on a Moscow street corner to becoming one of the wealthiest men in all of Russia within the span of less than two decades.

Mikhail probably owes much of his success not only to his own foresight and acumen, but also to some little appreciated facts of history. For example, if a once-obscure Georgian by the name of Josef Djugashvili had not fallen for Lidia Pereprygina in the Arctic circle some ninety-six years ago (circa 1914), it is entirely possible that Mikhail Prokhorov would not have realized his dream of purchasing the New Jersey Nets.

How is this so? Well, you see, that 34 year old Josef later became known as Josef Stalin. Moreover, he apparently developed a soft spot for the Siberian Arctic as a result of his experiences up there – not the least of which was his love affair with Lidia Pereprygina.

It seems almost an irony of history that the Norilsk nickel-mining and smelting plant site was built upriver from Stalin\’s \”love nest.\” It consisted of no more than a tiny ramshackle wooden hut in the middle of a desolate icy tundra. This would seem to suggest that the former Soviet ruler, Josef Stalin, developed the Norilsk nickel-mining enterprise at that location simply because of his affinity for the Siberian Arctic.

After all, he could\’ve developed a nickel mine elsewhere! Moreover, the fact that Stalin\’s \”love nest\” was actually once preserved there as a museum dedicated to the former Soviet leader tends to support this thesis.

Fast forward to 2010. What does all of this have to do with anything? Well, every story has unsung heroes or hidden actors. Could Lidia have been one of them?

If these certain prior events didn\’t occur, then maybe Mr. Prokhorov doesn\’t get his nickel mine and consequently the Nets. Obviously, luck, acumen and history play an integral role in the success of any business venture and any basketball team.

If the self-made Mikhail has merited the good fortune to acquire the Norilsk nickel mine because of the unsung actions of others and thereby now also acquired the New Jersey Nets and moves the franchise upriver, perhaps he should acknowledge and reward all those modern day unsung heroes or hidden actors who have contributed to or otherwise made his good fortune possible should the Nets make all the right moves and build a dynasty upriver in Brooklyn.

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2010 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at kathyforkids@cs.com

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