Andrei Kirilenko is a Russian-American basketball executive and the commissioner of the Russian Basketball Federation.
He is also a former National Basketball Association (NBA) player.
Kirilenko began playing professional basketball in Russia at a young age and soon advanced into the NBA in 1999.
He was huge in stature and was proficient in both offense and defense.
Though he mainly played forward, the NBA named him three times into the All-Defensive Team.
He spent around fifteen years in America playing for three different clubs in the NBA. Consequently, he received American citizenship in 2011.
The jersey number he wore, his initials, and the village he came from prompted his fans to nickname him the “AK- 47”.
The AK- 47 won numerous awards and accolades playing basketball in Russia and the NBA.
Likewise, he was equally successful for his national teams, which he began representing in 1999.
The International Basketball Federation declared him the Europe Men’s Player of the Year twice for his performance.
Furthermore, this article will encompass his story from his life in the Soviet Union to playing league games as a teenager to his career in the NBA.
Moreover, we will briefly glimpse his work to promote basketball after retirement.
But before that, here are some quick facts about Andrei Kirilenko.
|Full Name||Andrei Gennadyevich Kirilenko|
|Known As||Andrei Kirilenko|
|Date of Birth||February 18, 1981|
|Birth Place||Izhevsk, the USSR (now Russia)|
|Nick Name||AK- 47|
|Nationality||Russian / American|
|Age||41 years old|
|Height||2.06 m (6 feet 9 inches)|
|Weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|Hair Color||Light brown|
|Father’s Name||Gennady Kirilenko|
|Mother’s Name||Olga Valentinovna|
|Kid||Three sons and a daughter|
|Kids’ Names||Fyodor, Stepan, Andrey, and Alexandra Kirilenko|
|Profession||Former basketball player|
|NBA Draft||1999 / Round 1/ 24th pick overall|
|Position||Small forward / Power forward|
|Net Worth||$50 million|
|Currently Plays For||None / Retired|
|Career Highlights & Awards||
|Last Update||January 2023|
Early Life & Family
On February 18, 1981, Andrei Kirilenko was born in Izhevsk, Russia (formerly the Soviet Union).
His family was originally from Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg). However, his mother gave birth to him when they visited his relative’s house in that city.
His father, Gennady Kirilenko, was a football coach and trained school kids in St. Petersburg. Andrei’s mother, Olga, was also a sportswoman.
During her youth, she played professional basketball for various famous clubs like Spartak, Petrel, etc.
However, his mother returned four months after his birth, and Andrei spent his childhood in St. Petersburg.
He attended children’s school there and participated in sports activities.
He was initially more into football and swimming. Andrei grew much taller than the average Russian kid and gradually shifted to basketball.
He had already begun participating in organized basketball events at 10.
Meanwhile, he became a part of the basketball club of his hometown and regularly began participating in junior competitions.
Consequently, he learned basic basketball techniques and successfully led them to many victories.
He then left his academic studies and was fully committed to making his career in basketball.
Andrei Kirilenko | Career
Initial Career in Russia
The Russian phenom, Kirilenko, began playing professional basketball in 1997. However, he had already had an allegiance to Spartak Saint Petersburg.
He was the youngest player to play in the Russian Super League at that time.
Even though he was young, he had already accumulated enough experience to compete with big players in the league.
So after spending two years with Petersburg, Andrei moved to CSKA Moscow in 1998.
His game proved to be decisive in leading Moscow to win the Russian League title in 1999.
Moreover, he debuted in the international arena around that same period, which earned him international fame.
Consequently, the player went for the 1999 NBA draft, and the famous NBA club, Utah Jazz, picked him.
However, he remained with Moscow until 2001.
Playing two more seasons for the Russian club, he again assisted his team in winning the Russian Super League championship in 2000.
Moreover, he earned the tournament’s MVP that same year.
The Utah Jazz chose Andrei, aged 18, as the 1999 draft’s first-round 24th pick. With that selection, he became the first-ever Russian to enter the NBA.
After completing his assignments with his Moscow club, he joined the Jazz only in 2001.
The young Russian had an incredible rookie season and was exceptional in his team’s offensive and defensive sides.
As a result, he achieved early success as the NBA selected him to the All-Rookie first team.
He finished his first season with an average of 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Andrei played nine more NBA seasons for the Utah Jazz until 2011.
Even though he mostly had a good time playing for the Jazz in all these years, he was willing to leave the NBA at one time.
The reason was that the club allowed him to play him in limited time in the 2006-07 season, which affected his stats. He could not play well, and that frustrated him.
However, the club convinced him later. After that, he played four more seasons until they transferred to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In the meantime, he returned to Russia to participate in the 2012 EuroLeague for his former club, CSKA Moscow.
Returning from Europe, Kirilenko played three more seasons with two different clubs.
However, he did not have memorable seasons after 2011 except for the Timberwolves.
Even though the Brooklyn Nets traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015, he failed to show up.
Consequently, the club suspended him, after which he never returned to play in the NBA.
Instead, he joined CSKA Moscow to play in the VTB League and the EuroLeague.
Eventually, he announced his retirement from his professional career on June 23, 2015.
Life After Retirement
Although Andrei retired from all formats of basketball in 2015, he still has not distanced himself from basketball.
Soon after his retirement, he took up the office as the President of the Russian Basketball Federation. He completed his first tenure as its head in 2020 and was re-elected that same year.
Likewise, he has been working actively as one of the FIBA central board members.
National Team Career
Besides his club career, he has represented Russia in numerous international tournaments since his teenage years.
He first played for the national team in the 1999 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, where he was the tournament’s MVP.
Furthermore, he debuted for his senior national team in the 2000 Summer Olympics. They achieved the 8th position in the basketball event.
Since then, he has appeared in the Russian jersey in various tournaments such as EuroBasket, FIBA World Cup, etc., over the years.
His most outstanding achievement while playing for Russia led them to the 2007 EuroBasket victory.
He announced his retirement from his international career in 2013.
Awards & Achievements
Andrei Kirilenko won numerous trophies and honors in his long basketball career. He was already the Russian league champion when he debuted in the NBA.
His professional career in Russia was entirely satisfactory as he won the Russian and European League trophies.
Beginning his NBA career in the early 2000s, he earned various honors and mentions. However, he was never able to lift the championship ring.
Apart from that, his international career with the Russian national team was very successful.
Some of his awards and achievements include:
- FIBA Europe Men’s Basketball Player of the Year (2007, 2012)
- Russian League MVP (2000)
- NBA blocks leader (2005)
- VTB United League MVP (2012)
- Russian Player of the Year (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008)
- NBA All-Star (2004)
- The Euroscar Player of the Year (2012)
- NBA All-Defensive First Team (2006)
- EuroLeague MVP (2012)
- Gold medal in the 2007 EuroBasket
- Bronze medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics
Net Worth, Salary & Career Earnings
According to sources, Andrei Kirilenko has a net worth of around $50 million.
He accumulated a lot of money playing in the NBA in America. After the Jazz picked him in the 1999 draft, the club paid him around $0.6 million, although he did not appear in any match.
They offered him nearly $0.84 for his rookie season with them.
Consequently, the club never gave up on him, and he played for the Jazz for eleven seasons. He had received about $17 million in his last season for them.
The Russian athlete collected wealth worth up to $108 million from his entire NBA career. You can know more about his salary details at hoopshype.
Besides, he has earned a good amount of money from his international career and his professional career in Russia.
In addition, he frequently appeared in tv commercials in the past. So, he has earned enough through endorsements and merch sales.
Andrei Kirilenko | Personal Life
Andrei Kirilenko is married to the famous Russian entrepreneur and music artist Masha Kirilenko. Her fans know her through her stage name, MaLo.
Kirilenko had first met her at the youth basketball program in Moscow in the late 90s. At that time, he had already started paving his way to the professional league, although he was still a teen.
The duo soon got on together, and young Andrei even appeared in one of her music videos.
They eventually married in 2001, and she came to the USA together with him when he began playing for the Utah Jazz in the NBA.
Masha is also a Russian and has many degrees. She first did her bachelor in Linguistics from the University of Foreign Languages in Moscow.
Then, she attended the Academy of National Economy, where she has an MBA degree.
Likewise, she has master’s degrees in TV and Video Production and Psychology from two universities in the UK and the USA.
At present, both Masha and Andrei hold dual citizenship. She, too, obtained US citizenship in 2011.
Apart from being a singer, she is an entrepreneur and currently the CEO of the famous Fashion IQ.
The beautiful couple is blessed with four children. Their first son, Fyodor, was born in 2002.
Moreover, their two sons, Stepan and Andrey, were born in 2007 and 2015. In addition, they have a daughter named Alexandra, born in 2005.
Masha is a very liberal woman and has a surprising perspective about relationships. For example, she had once remarked that she would allow Andrei to cheat on her once in a year if he wanted to.
However, Andrei loves her very much and does not want to do that.
Age, Weight & Height
As of 2023, Andrei is 41 years old. His zodiac sign is Aquarius.
Likewise, he stands 2.06 meters (6 feet 9 inches) tall and weighs around 235 lb (107 kg). He was highly skinny during his initial basketball days.
Moreover, he has light brown hair, which he mostly keeps longer, and blue eyes look attractive.
Social Media Presence
Andrei is not so active on social media handles. He only has an Instagram account and does not use any other form of social media.
You can check his Insta page through the given link:
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Andrei Kirilenko today?
Andrei Kirilenko currently lives between Los Angeles, USA, and Moscow, Russia. He has already retired from the professional league and working as a basketball executive.
Is Andrei Kirilenko a Hall of Famer?
No, Andrei Kirilenko is not a Hall of Famer. However, he was one of the best forwards of his time.