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How Andrei Kirilenko helped a Moscow orphanage

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Christof Koepsel

In an interview with Russia's PROSport magazine, translated by Rush'n Hoops, Andrei Kirilenko reveals for the first time that he donated most of his 2011-12 salary to a Moscow orphanage.  Kirilenko played that year for CSKA Moscow, where he earned an estimated 4 million euros --or about $5 million-- after taxes.

Stanislav Gridassov, editor-in-chief of PROsport magazine and co-founder of Moscow-Saratov Charity Foundation asked Kirilenko about whether he fulfilled the promise he made in 2011 to donate his salary to charity.

Gridassov:

"When you came back from NBA to CSKA Moscow for one season, you announced that you would give all of the contract money to charity. Who received that money?"

Kirilenko:

"Most of it went into Moscow orphanage number 59 – we repaired it, and built a basketball court there. Also, we have bought gear for teams participating in School Basket. We have repaired gyms in many schools."

Kirilenko also spoke about his Kirilenko's Kids charity.

"Originally, when Kirilenko’s Kids foundation was just getting started, we set a few directions for ourselves on who to provide help to: orphanages, children’s hospitals, children’s basketball schools, and also, older sports veterans. Some people we would find on our own, some people would contact us themselves. Right now we are working hard on developing an inter-school tournament School Basket – this season, 92 regular schools from all across Russia took part."

And although he understands why some give anonymously, Kirilenko thinks public giving has great advantages not matter where it takes place.

"A public person, who millions of people know, can draw the attention to a problem, organize people, give a push for this problem to be resolved. There really is a difference if someone who nobody knows would address, and if (Alexander) Ovechkin (of hockey's Washington Nationals) would go out and say, ‘Guys, we need to get together and help’. We need to remember that we – pardon me – well-known athletes, have great means at our disposal."