Mikhail Prokhorov wasted little time.
"We will turn Knicks fans into Nets fans," the New Jersey Nets' new owner declared at his introductory press conference on May 19, 2010.
A little over a month later, Prokhorov's visage loomed large at Eighth Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan, just around the way from Madison Square Garden. A giant 225-foot mural of him and Nets minority owner Jay-Z -- with the message, "The blueprint for greatness" -- went up just in time for the most anticipated free-agency period in NBA history. Both the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks entered free agency with cap space for multiple stars and were granted a seat across the table from LeBron James.
Shots fired. These were bold moves. And the public perception of the Knicks at the time, a team still mending the wounds of the Isiah Thomas era, a team that hadn't had a winning season in a decade, wasn't exactly positive -- which made this all the more intriguing.
Could this Russian billionaire follow through on all the early bravado, score big and perhaps steal a little of the spotlight from the reeling Knicks?
Fast-forward a year later. And that answer is, well, no. At least not yet.