Legend: Andrei Kirilenko, CSKA Moscow

May 09, 2019 by Euroleague.net Print
Legend: Andrei Kirilenko, CSKA Moscow

Although he only spent five seasons split over three separate stints with CSKA Moscow, Andrei Kirilenko packed a punch into those periods that few players can ever match. His contributions to CSKA combined with the great feats to which he led the Russian Federation national team and his success in an NBA career that spanned 13 seasons. Added up, they all make Kirilenko one of the greatest players in the history of his country.

Kirilenko was blessed with the size to play power forward, the speed and athleticism to guard wings, and the offensive skills to be a go-to- scorer. He began his career with Spartak St. Petersburg before signing with CSKA at age 17. He played three seasons for the club and then moved overseas and spent a full decade in the NBA with Utah. Kirilenko returned to CSKA for the 2012 season, taking the team to within seconds of the EuroLeague title. After parts of three more seasons in the NBA with Minnesota and Brooklyn, Kirilenko returned to CSKA in 2015, reaching another Final Four, only to fall short by a single basket in the semifinals.

His list of career accomplishments is too long to detail, but among Kirilenko's greatest feats was becoming the second player to take home EuroLeague Season MVP, EuroLeague Best Defender and All-EuroLeague First Team trophies in the same season, which he did in 2012. Kirilenko led CSKA to three Final Fours. He was the EuroBasket 2007 MVP after helping the Russian Federation to the title, and he also collected bronze medals at EuroBasket 2011 and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. During his time in the NBA, Kirilenko was named to the all-defensive team three times and was an all-star selection in 2004.