Russian superstar Andrei Kirilenko has made the decision to retire from the Russian national team with immediate effect, meaning he will miss the upcoming Eurobasket 2013 tournament. Kirilenko has cited family reasons and fatigue as the reasons for his retirement, although he has left the door open for a possible return to international Basketball in the future.
Known has the best European player of his generation; Andrei Kirilenko recently revealed the reasons behind his retirement in a truthful interview. Kirilenko is back in the NBA this season with the Minnesota Timberwolves after spending last season in his native Russia with CSKA Moscow. The talented forward has offered a typically high quality game since returning to the USA, and in 42 games in the Timberwolves starting five he has secured 13.3 points per game.
During the interview, Andrei Kirilenko spoke of how he announced his retirement to Basketball Federation president Aleksander Krasnenkov via a transatlantic phone call. The player was speaking to sport-express.ru.
“I explained my position and told him [Krasnenkov] that I had seriously considered and decided upon my retirement from the national team,”
“Krasnenkov asked me one thing, to not make this a definite decision, apply it only to the upcoming EuroBasket, and return to the subject of the national team in one or two years’ time.
“The reason [for the decision] is fatigue.
“I’ve thought a lot about this and have consulted many people – mainly my family and friends.”
“The busy NBA season means I spend too much time away from my family, it takes away a minimum of six-and-a-half months a year.”
Kirilenko is perhaps best known for his time with the Utah Jazz. The 31-yeard old played for the Jazz between 2002 and 2011 and became a staple of the franchises starting five.
“I want to be the best father I can be and be more involved in the lives of my children,” the 32-year-old forward explained.
“I want to see them grow and not be limited to telling them bed time stories when I go home at 10 or 11 at night and they are not asleep, waiting for me.
“I’m not ready to spend most of the summer with the [national] team, rather with my family.
“If it was possible to combine the two, I would certainly do it.
“Before, we had been able to find some sort of compromise and it’s happened that my wife and children were at training camp with me.
“But I cannot, and should not, bring them along again. They have their own schedule too, which I should adapt.”
The retirement of Andrei Kirilenko will be a bitter blow to a Russian National team that has been enjoying success in recent years. Last summer proved a good one as the team scooped the bronze medal at the London Olympics, while in 2011 the team finished second in the Eurobasket tournament.
The team had been hoping to go one better at this year’s Eurobasket in September, but the loss of their star player has really dented those aspirations.