Josh Bourne ⬥ 5 October
At first glance, the Brooklyn Nets appear to have it all, from a shiny new arena to a solid starting five. The team can even count one of the biggest rap stars in the world among its owners. There is one thing that the Nets don’t have, though: the domain name of their dreams, Nets.com.
And the owner of Nets.com won’t let the team forget it. As of earlier this week, according to The Basketball Jones blog, the URL resolved to a sparse page featuring a picture of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, some text in Russian taunting Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and English text that read, “Looking for the Brooklyn Nets? They’re not here…but they SHOULD be!” As of today, however, Nets.com redirects to the Mavericks NBA.com homepage.
The speculation that Cuban is behind the prank will only get stronger as the mystery remains unsolved, given the fact that the Dallas owner has made no attempt to hide his feelings about Prokhorov, especially after he lost out on star point guard Deron Williams to the Nets. The ongoing feud between Cuban and Prokhorov would seem to indicate that Cuban registered Nets.com with the sole purpose of taunting the Nets owner, but there is no record of Cuban ever registering the domain.
WHOIS data for Nets.com shows that Cyber Mesa Computer Systems of Santa Fe has owned the domain since 1994. As of earlier this year, Nets.com redirected to the Cyber Mesa homepage, and the company’s registration isn’t set to expire until 2014. So what happened? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. Because the WHOIS record has not changed, there is no indication that anyone other than Cyber Mesa is currently operating the domain.
The prank may appear to be the work of Mark Cuban, but it could just as likely be the work of a Dallas fan with similarly strong feelings about Prokhorov and the Nets. The mystery adds a little more intrigue to the start of the NBA season at the end of the month, but fans will have to wait until March to see how the Nets and the Mavericks duke this one out on the court.