The NBA's Board of Governors has approved Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's purchase of the Brooklyn-bound NJ Nets. He becomes the first non-North American NBA owner, with 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of the Barclay Center under his control. In a statement released today, he oozed optimism about the future of last season's worst team in basketball: “For those who are already fans of the Nets and the NBA, I intend to give you plenty to cheer about.”

But the person who is happiest to see the Nets deal go through is developer Bruce Ratner, who bought the team in the fall of 2004 for $300 million. Ratner admitted in a recent interview with the WSJ that he lost between $25-$30 million each season on the team, and was never really a basketball fan to begin with: "I was never one to puff my chest out with some big ego about being the owner of a basketball team." The only reason he bought the team was to facilitate the development and creation of Atlantic Yards project, which he had begun building over a decade before.

However, some local pols are unhappy over the allegations that Prokhorov had monetary ties to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, and have called for a delay on the approval: “The public benefits of Atlantic Yards will be hollow if they are achieved with the help of profits gained through fraudulent schemes or a regime that holds no regard for human rights,” read the letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern, signed by Council members Brad Lander (D-Park Slope) and Letitia James (D-Fort Greene) and three state Assembly members.