In an interview with RIA-Novosti, the big Russian wire service, Andrei Kirilenko says the Nets are becoming Russia's team ... and even Ukraine's team. The Nets forward also spoke about the Nets championship aspirations and how much time he has left.
"For Russia, Brooklyn is becoming a home team. Not for everyone, of course: Some people still root for the Lakers or Miami. But there are a lot of [Brooklyn] fans due to all the components—a Russian player, a Russian owner, and there’s a huge Russian community in Brooklyn. I’m counting all Russians, including Ukrainians—all the Russian speakers. We’re all a product of the USSR."
In fact, the Nets have quietly upgraded their Russian language site, with more and more news items translated into Russian. (The Nets have said they also will establish a Spanish language site.)
Kirilenko also told RIA Novosti that he believes, for the first time in his career, he could be part of a championship team.
"This really is a great chance: It’s the possibility to fight for the title. It doesn’t mean we’ll win, but it’s a chance to fight for the title. Naturally, it’s going to be hard to do—Miami is the main contender, and there are a lot of teams that look fantastic. But, overall, it’s the first time in my career when I’m playing for a team that, from the outset, from the beginning of the season, is a favorite."
The 32-year-old also spoke of how much time he has left in the NBA.
"I think I’ve done pretty well when it comes to the teams and my personal club career. I might have two, three or four more years left to play. After that, I physically won’t be able to keep playing at as high a level. As a professional, I want to play at the highest level."