Andrei Gennadyevich Kirilenko (Russian: Андрей Геннадьевич Кириленко; born February 18, 1981) is a Russian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA). At age fifteen, Kirilenko began playing professional basketball in his native Russia with the Russian Basketball Super League. He spent another three years with CSKA Moscow, winning the Russian league MVP award in 2000.
In 2001, Kirilenko joined the Utah Jazz, who drafted him in 1999. He became the first Russian player selected in the first round of a draft and the youngest European player drafted. He made the NBA All-Rookie Team after his first season, was an NBA All-Defensive Team pick three times and played in the 2004 All-Star Game. In 2012, he led CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague Final, being named the competition's MVP, while earning an All-Euroleague First Team selection. He also won the Euroleague Defensive Player of the Year award the same year.
Since the 2000 Summer Olympics, Kirilenko has been a regular member of the Russian national team. With Russia, he won the EuroBasket title in 2007, earning MVP honors in the process. In 2011, he won his second EuroBasket medal, this time the bronze. He was selected to the All-Tournament Team on both occasions.
Kirilenko is nicknamed AK47, because his initials are AK, and he has often worn the jersey number 47. Moreover, Andrei was born in the city of Izhevsk, in the former Soviet Union (Russia), where the weapon is manufactured. In 2011, he became an American citizen.
Early years 
Kirilenko was born in the Soviet Russian city of Izhevsk, Russia. When he was ten, he began playing organized basketball. In 1997, Kirilenko became the youngest player ever to compete in the Russian Superleague. After spending two seasons with Spartak Saint Petersburg, he joined CSKA Moscow in 1998. In his first season, he helped his new team win the Russian Superleague championship. He was also selected to participate in the Russian All-Star game, helping the West beat the East 138–107 and winning the slam dunk contest.
Professional career 
Utah Jazz (2001–2011) 
On June 30, 1999, at age 18 years, 132 days, Kirilenko was the youngest European player at the time to be drafted in the National Basketball Association, when the Utah Jazz selected him with the 24th pick. Kirilenko was also the first Russian picked in the first round of an NBA Draft. However, he remained with CSKA Moscow for the next two seasons. In the 1999–2000 season, he helped his team win the championship of the North European Basketball League and its second Russian Superleague championship in a row. On April 23, 2000, he participated in his second Russian All-Star game, helping the West beat the East 122–111. Despite being the odds-on favorite to win the slam dunk contest, he finished second to Harold Dean of Lokomotiv Mineralnye Vody.
Andrei Kirilenko participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics as a member of the Russian national basketball team, which finished 8th in the tournament. On February 8, 2001, in his third season with CSKA Moscow, Kirilenko became the second player ever in the history of the FIBA SuproLeague to record a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 steals against Lietuvos Rytas. He showed off his all-around skills in the SuproLeague, finishing in top ten in 7 out of 8 statistical categories.
Kirilenko joined the Utah Jazz in 2001. He was named to the first team on the NBA All-Rookie team. He emerged as one of the top young players in the NBA, and one of the league's top weak-side defenders. He was selected to play as a reserve in the 2004 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. In the 2003–04 NBA season, he ranked third in the league in blocked shots per game and fourth in the league in steals per game, becoming just the second player in NBA history to rank in the top five in both categories (David Robinson ranked first in blocked shots per game and fifth in steals per game in the 1991–92 NBA season). During the NBA offseason, Kirilenko plays for the Russian national basketball team.
Kirilenko became the leader of the Jazz in 2003 after John Stockton retired and Karl Malone left Utah to join the Los Angeles Lakers. He played and started in 78 of the Utah's 82 games and led them to a 42–40 record. Utah missed the playoffs by one game behind the Denver Nuggets. He finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting and fourth in Most Improved Player voting and was named to the second team on the All-NBA Defensive Team. Kirilenko led the Jazz in many statistical categories:
- total points: 1284
- points per game: 16.5
- total rebounds: 629
- rebounds per game: 8.1
- blocks: 215
- blocks per game: 2.8
- steals: 150
- steals per game: 1.9
- free throws made: 392
- free throws attempted: 496
- three-pointers made: 68
- three-pointers attempted: 201
In the middle of the 2004–05 season against the Washington Wizards, Kirilenko sustained a broken right wrist, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. Despite only playing in 41 of the Jazz' 82 games, he amassed enough blocked shots during the season to qualify as the league leader in blocks per game, and was named to the second team on the NBA All-Defensive Team.
In the 2005–06 season Kirilenko was again among the league's best shot blockers and defenders. He recorded a career high 10 blocks against Indiana on March 26, and finished first in the league with total blocks (220) and second in blocks per game with 3.2, just behind league leader Marcus Camby at 3.3. He was named to the first team on the NBA All-Defensive Team.
Kirilenko averaged 15.3 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 3.2 blocks and 4.3 assists per game in the 2005–2006 season.
Kirilenko and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only 2 NBA players who have finished a game with at least 6 steals, 6 blocks, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists since 1985–96.
The 2006–2007 season was a tremendous disappointment for Kirilenko. While playing in 70 games and not missing much playing time, he averaged career lows in points (8.3) and field goal attempts (6.0). It has been said that much of this decline can be attributed to the main offensive emphasis on Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, and Mehmet Okur, and that Kirilenko was uncomfortable losing his position as the main go-to guy on the team. His frustration eventually culminated in a widely-publicized breakdown near the end of the Jazz's first-round playoffs series against the Houston Rockets. Kirilenko bounced back to lead Russia to the championship in EuroBasket 2007, and was named MVP of the tournament. Following his performance in the 2007 European championship he asked to be released from his contract to return to Russia to play basketball.
Despite the trade rumors and controversy created by these statements, he rebounded in the 2007–08 NBA season and backed off on trade demands. His statistics for the 2007–08 NBA season were 11.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.2 spg, and 1.5 bpg, all of which were improvements over his previous season's stats (with the exception of blocks and rebounds). He worked out personally with former Jazz shooting guard Jeff Hornacek on his shooting in the 2007 off-season, and his field goal percentage improved from 47% to 51%. Most impressively, his 3-point shooting improved from 21% to a career-high 38%.
Back to Russia 
It was reported on October 4, 2011 that Kirilenko returned to his old Russian team, CSKA Moscow. On December 31, 2011, it was confirmed on ESPN.com that he would remain there for the rest of the 2011–2012 NBA season. At the end of the season, he was named the 2011-12 Euroleague MVP and selected to the All-Euroleague First Team. Over 17 games in the Euroleague, he averaged 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds, in 29.9 minutes per game.
Return to the NBA 
Russian national team 
His first international tournament was in the 2000 Summer Olympics when the Russian national basketball team finished the games in the 8th place. Later he played at the EuroBasket 2001, where Russia finished 5th among 16 teams. The only time that Kirilenko played in a FIBA World Cup was at the 2002 FIBA World Championship where the Russian team finished 10th out of 16 teams. Kirilenko has also played at 5 EuroBaskets: the EuroBasket 2003, the EuroBasket 2005, the EuroBasket 2007, where he won the gold medal of the competition and was named the MVP of the tournament, and the EuroBasket 2011. With the win in the 2007 EuroBasket, Russia qualified to the 2008 Summer Olympics, where Kirilenko also played for Russia and he was also named Russia's flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the games.
In the first game of the 2008 Olympics tournament against Iran, Kirilenko scored 15 points, pulled down 5 rebounds and blocked 3 shots. Against Croatia, he led his team in points scored with 18, and he scored his personal best in the games against Argentina, scoring 23.
Kirilenko won a bronze medal with Russia at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Awards and honors 
- First Team: 2006
- Second Team: 2004, 2005
NBA career statistics 
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Regular season 
Euroleague career statistics 
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
Player profile 
Kirilenko is a versatile "big man" who can play either forward spot. He is noted for his high-level play in both offense (12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game NBA career averages as of the 2012-13 season) and defense. On offense, he is proficient in drawing fouls, passing, and possesses a quick first step. He is lauded for his defense, as of 2006 three times selected into the NBA All-Defensive Team or Second Team. Staples of Kirilenko's defensive power are his shot blocking (with an NBA career 1.9 per game average as of the 2012-13 season) and in stealing the ball (NBA career 1.4 per game average as of the 2012-13 season).
On January 3, 2006, against the Los Angeles Lakers, Kirilenko posted a statline of 14 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 6 steals and 7 blocks. This was the third time in his career he achieved a five-by-five. It was also the first-ever regulation "5×6" — a game in which a player registers at least 6 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 blocks, and 6 steals – since the NBA began recording blocks and steals in the 1973–74 season. In 1987, Hakeem Olajuwon had 38 points, 17 rebounds, 12 blocks, 7 steals, and 6 assists for the Houston Rockets in a double-overtime win over the Seattle SuperSonics, the only other time a player has earned a 5×6.
Personal life 
Kirilenko is married to Russian pop singer Masha "Marina" Lopatova, whose stage name is MaLo. Lopatova is the daughter of Russian basketball player Andrei Lopatov. Kirilenko met Lopatova at a youth basketball camp in Moscow, and Kirilenko appeared in one of Lopatova's music videos. In January 2011, Andrei and Masha acquired American citizenship. They live in Cottonwood Heights, Utah and have two sons: Fedya (born 2002) and Stepan (born March 6, 2007). ESPN The Magazine reported in 2006 that Masha allows Andrei to have sex with another woman once per year and quoted her: "Male athletes in this country are extremely attractive. They get chased by women. It's hard to resist. It's the way men are by nature."
See also 
- List of National Basketball Association career blocks leaders
- List of National Basketball Association players with 10 or more blocks in a game
- 2008 Summer Olympics national flag bearers
- Euroleague.net report on final
- "Andrei Kirilenko". NBA. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Nielsen, Chad (March 13, 2006). "Perfect fit". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Andrei Kirilenko returns to CSKA. Cskabasket.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-11.
- Timberwolves Sign Veteran Forward Andrei Kirilenko
- Game: RUSSIA vs IRAN (Group A). Fiba.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-11.
- Andrei Kirilenko Career Stats Page. NBA.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-11.
- ESPN.com – NBA – SPECIAL WEEKEND EDITIONPistons playing with purpose. Sports.espn.go.com (2006-01-12). Retrieved on 2012-05-11.
- Five-by-Fives (Since the 1986–87 Season). basketball-reference.com
- "Sports Beat", Sports Illustrated 98 (3), January 27, 2003
- Sorensen, Mike (January 11, 2011). "Utah Jazz: Andrei Kirilenko becomes U.S. citizen". Deseret News. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Phillips, Valerie (March 29, 2005). "From Russia with love – Masha Kirilenko's recipe for feeding an athlete". Deseret News. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Blog of Andrei Kirilenko and Masha Lopatova on Sports.ru
- (Russian) (English) Official website
- Career statistics and player information from NBA.com
- Player Page at basketball-reference.com
- Euroleague.net Profile
- Andrei Kirilenko Player Profile (InterBasket)
- Andrei Kirilenko Basketboltr profile
- 2008 Olympic Basketball profile at FIBA.com
- Utah Jazz Roster
- Beijing 2008 Athlete profile
- Youtube: Andrei Kirilenko – A.K.47