2012 Summer Olympics Athletes: Andrei Kirilenko, Russian Basketball Player

Abstract: The 2012 London Summer Olympic men's basketball competition is right around the corner. The Russian team will be in the tournament this time around. Get to know one of Russia's star basketball players, Andrei Kirilenko.

Per its official website, the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games will start soon, and basketball will once again be one of the medal events.

Twelve teams (one per country) are entered in the men's Olympic basketball tournament, which begins on Sunday, July 29. They are divided into two groups of six teams. Each squad will play all the other teams in its pool. Teams will earn two points for every win and one point for each loss. The top four squads from each division qualify for the single elimination playoffs. The competition will be fierce as some of the best players in the world vie for Olympic glory.

Russia is one of the 12 nations that will take part in the Olympic men's basketball tournament. Per the official website of the Olympic Movement, the country has not won a medal in men's basketball since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Russian team hopes to end that streak at the London Olympics. Get to know Andrei Kirilenko, one of the key players on Russia's men's basketball team.

All of the data comes from the NBA's official website unless otherwise noted.

Name: Andrei Kirilenko
Country: Russia
Age: 31 (born Feb. 18, 1981)
Height: 6 feet 9 inches
Position: Forward
Birthplace: Izhevsk, Russia
Wife: Marina (Masha) Lopatova, a Russian singer
Nickname: AK-47
Favorite Hobbies: Playing video games and reading

Charity Work: Andrei Kirilenko has worked with several charities. In fact, The Sporting News crowned him the NBA's No. 1 Good Guy in 2006 due to his philanthropic work.

Interesting Facts: Andrei Kirilenko was the youngest athlete to ever play in the Russian League. He was the first Russian player to be selected in the first round of an NBA draft. He was the youngest player, up to that time, to ever be drafted into the NBA (at 18 years, 4 months, 12 days).

Professional Career: Andrei Kirilenko's professional career began in 1996 when he signed on with a Russian team, Spartak St. Petersburg. In 1998, he joined another Russian team, CSKA. Kirilenko played with CSKA for three seasons, from 1998 through the spring of 2001. In 2001, he was drafted by the Utah Jazz and remained with that team from the fall of 2001 through the spring of 2011. Per the Toronto Sun, Kirilenko rejoined CSKA during the NBA lockout and remained with that team for the entire 2011-2012 season.

Olympic History: According to Basketball Reference, he participated in both the 2000 and 2008 Olympics as a member of the Russian men's basketball team. Russia did not garner a spot in the 2004 Olympic basketball tournament.

-- Anthony Hopper

#basketball #NBA #SummerOlympics #Olympics #London #sports #Russia

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