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Andrei Kirilenko hoping for great return to the city where he won a bronze


The last time Andrei Kirilenko played basketball in London, he won the bronze medal at the Olympics. So he was a natural for the Evening Standard of London to talk to about next week's game vs. the Hawks at the O2 Arena.  For the Hawks, the Standard chose Kyle Korver, his and Deron Williams' teammate in Utah.  The Standard asked both the same questions.

Basketball or not, AK-47 is a big fan of the British capital...

"The fans were great during the Olympics. It was packed every time we played but I like London even without the Olympics. My wife and I visit every year... it’s very romantic," he told the Standard.

Kirilenko also spoke about how he chose 47 as his uniform number and his connection to the Russian machine gun.

"There’s a funny story behind my nickname, AK47. When I was younger my favourite number was 13 but John Amaechi [who played for Great Britain] came to the team and as a veteran, had the preference. I didn’t know what to choose but one guy said, ‘hey your initials are AK, that’s a famous Russian gun, you should take 47’. I thought, okay, why not, and later I figured out the inventor of the gun [Mikhail Kalashnikov] lived in the city I was born in (Izhevsk). The last time I fired one was on a TV show last summer and I can even take one apart and put it back together."

The ex-teammates were also asked about which teammate is the best at working out and who is the worst. Kirilenko says Reggie is the Nets most ardent "trainer."  As to the worst, Korver said he had a name but wouldn't reveal it. Kirilenko had a more positive answer...

"No one because everybody is trying to get better. There is a great chance to do something special and everybody sees that."

  • 'I like London even without the Olympics': Q&A with Atlanta Hawks' Kyle Korver and Brooklyn Nets' Andrei Kirilenko - London Evening Standard