Mikail Prokhorov, the Russian owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets announced Monday he will run against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Russia’s March presidential election, according to the Associated Press.
Putin served as Russia’s president from 2000-2008 and later became prime minister due to Russian term limit laws. Putin is attempting to regain the presidency in the 2012 race, one term removed from his two-consecutive term reign in the 2000’s.
The AP report suggests that Prokhorov “may pose a serious challenge to Putin” due to public backlash regarding allegations of fraud during Russia’s recent parliamentary election. Prokhorov told reporters at a news conference that “The [Russian] society is waking up.” Prokhorov previously ran for office in a parliamentary race. The 46-year-old has been majority owner of the Nets since mid-2010 and holds interest in the team’s new Barclays center. He is the first non-North American NBA owner.