The National Basketball Association is betting billionaire Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov can give it an advantage as the league seeks to replicate in Russia its success in China. The NBA hired David Watts, a former executive at sports and entertainment agency IMG Worldwide Inc., as London-based vice president for Russia and former Soviet states, NBA International President Heidi Ueberroth said. The position had been vacant since Egor Borisov, who was hired to run the Moscow office opened by the NBA in 2010, left the company more than a year ago.
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“We would actually love to see some regular-season games played in Russia, as we have currently in London,” Prokhorov said by e-mail May 25. “That would be my dream.” The native Muscovite has pledged to spread the team’s fan base globally.