Mikhail Prokhorov continues to do cool things

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Earlier today, Bill Simmons posted a thorough and definitive guide on why you should love Mikhail Prokhorov. There’s a lot to like — the insane wealth, the shameless cavorting with beautiful women, the fact he’s 6-8, does jet ski flips, works out for two hours a day, and can dunk, that he brags about not sleeping at night, and that he generally sounds like a Russian version of Batman. 

According to the New York Observer, there’s yet another reason to love Prokhorov. After Prokhorov got to Brooklyn, he granted two one-on-one interviews. The first was with iconic New York sports radio personality Mike Francesa. The second interview was with Vinnie Rotondaro, a 28-year old blogger who graduated from the Columbia school of journalism a few days ago. (Here is the transcript of Rotondaro’s interview with Prokhorov.) 
Courtesy of the article, here’s some background on the guy who snagged the interview:
Two years ago, Mr. Rotondaro was working in a pizza kitchen. He began writing more and more, and published a few items for The Huffington Post, worked briefly as a crime reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle and then enrolled in j-school. 
By his own admission, he wasn’t an obvious choice for the sit-down. He spent the last few months occasionally filing for a blog run by Columbia called Brooklyn Ink. He had five bylines. 
Then, there he was, getting one of the most in-demand exclusives of the week and delivering a 2,300 word Q & A with Mr. Prokhorov.

Not the guy you’d expect Prokhorov to give such a major interview to. But according to the article, Prokhorov had some good reasons for giving the interview to Rotondaro. Prokhorov wanted a Brooklyn blogger to do the interview — apparently, Prokhorov supports blogs even though he does not use computers. His handler had read some of Rotondaro’s pieces in The Huffington Post, and thought he’d be the perfect guy to do the interview based on those pieces. He sent Rotondaro an email, Rotondaro replied, and a little while later he was sipping tea with the billionaire owner of the Nets. 

When asked why they chose such a little-known journalist to interview Prokhorov, his people continued to say all the right things: 
And why did Mr. Prokhorov decide to go with a kid named Vinnie to get the exclusive?
Mr. Prokhorov’s spokesman emailed to say that his client “believes in supporting young journalists and Vinnie just graduated this week from one of country’s most prestigious programs, the Columbia School of Journalism.”
Also: “Mikhail wants to spend as much time as he can getting to know Brooklyn and its people, and wanted Vinnie to show him a local place. Next time, they plan to have a pizza together somewhere in the borough.”

Not only is Mickael Prokhorov admirable in a “crazy billionaire” way, but now he’s supporting young journalists, spending time in the community, and giving interviews to bloggers? Like I said earlier, there’s a lot to like about this guy. 

Akron store already selling “Stay Home 23” shirts, hats as LeBron decision looms

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We’ve seen this movie before.

There is all sorts of buzz around the league that LeBron James has one foot out the door in Cleveland. While people around LeBron denied he the rumor he is “100 percent” leaving, good luck finding any league source who thinks he is staying put next summer. Nothing is set in stone, his options — including staying — remain open, but we’ve all been down this road before.

The hometown fans are going to do their part to urge LeBron to stay.

Fan sentiment has some pull with LeBron (he came back to win the city a title). However, what matters more is a sense of a plan to keep the Cavaliers as title contenders for the coming years — and that is more than just Dan Gilbert paying the tax. The Cavs did nothing this summer that got them closer to beating Golden State, and while they swung for the fences with Paul George, what they really needed was wing defenders and athletes, and they didn’t get those either. Luc Mbah a Moute signed a one-year deal for the minimum somewhere else. Instead, Cleveland overpaid Kyle Korver.

Despite all that, the Cavs remain the team to beat in the East. If Cleveland gets to the Finals — LeBron’s eighth in a row — and they win or make it close, he may see staying as his best option. A season can be a lifetime in the NBA in terms of shifting attitudes. Still, I wouldn’t bet the rent on it.

Marshall Plumlee gets camp invite, partially guaranteed contract from Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).

That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.

Kawhi Leonard is smiling, and that confuses Manu Ginobili (PHOTO)

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Much like Kevin Durant, it appears that Kawhi Leonard is having a great summer.

In fact, this appears to be the Summer of Kawhi Smiling. Which, according to one of his longtime teammates, is a bit confusing.

When the Spurs posted a photo of Leonard with a big old grin on his face to their Twitter feed recently, San Antonio legend Manu Ginobili responded asking the team whether something was up.

Specifically, Ginobili said that he had seen more photos of Leonard smiling in the past two days then he had in six seasons as a teammate.

Via Twitter:

You can leave an anonymous tip about why Kawhi Leonard is smiling so much by contacting the produce manager at your local H-E-B.

Kobe is the Lakers’ all-time leader in steals (and other trivia rookies don’t know)

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“He played 20 years … I mean, yeah I guess.”

That’s what Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball had to say in this video after learning that Kobe Bryant was the all-time leader in steals for his franchise. You have to hand it to him, it is a little surprising. Even more surprising is that Bryant has 220 more than Magic Johnson at No. 2.

In a video posted to YouTube by Complex on Saturday, rookies tried to answer questions similar to the one Ball pondered over, like what team drafted their head coach, who the NBA all-time leading scorer is, and what day the first game of the season starts on.

A lot of the responses were pretty funny, including the guys getting wrong what year Adam Silver became NBA commissioner. Poor David Stern has already been forgotten about!

Meanwhile, Ball looked the sharpest. He’s going to come in handy when the Lakers play pub trivia.