Kirilenko happy to be back inside EnergySolutions Arena

More than likely, Andrei Kirilenko knew there was a visitor’s locker room somewhere inside EnergySolutions Arena. He just didn’t know where, exactly.

“I didn’t even know the guest locker room was here,” the former Utah Jazz forward said Wednesday. “I kind of was like, ‘Where’s the guest locker room? OK, it’s right there.’”

Kirilenko returned to the arena as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He went through shootaround on the court Wednesday morning and will play against the Jazz tonight.

The lanky 6-foot-9 Russian-born former All-Star was drafted by the Jazz in 1999 and spent 10 season with the team. He spent the 2011-12 season playing in Russia but returned to the NBA this season as a member of the Timberwolves.

While speaking with a large gathering of media afterward, Kirilenko admitted he hadn’t yet seen the inside of the visitor’s locker room.

“I haven’t been in yet,” he said. “I’m afraid to go in.”

Kirilenko, 31, is having a good season in Minnesota, where he’s averaging 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He is the T-Wolves’ starting small forward and most experienced player.

Kirilenko played 681 regular-season games with the Jazz. He made the All-Star team in 2004. The Jazz later signed him to a max-money contract worth $86 million over six years.

He received a great deal of criticism by fans and from the media for under performing during that time.

“I’ve always been a fan of being remembered as a good person, not just a good player,” he said. “I think if the people remember you as a good personality I think it goes along way rather than just being a good player, but, you know, a jackass or whatever.”

Kirilenko said he still has a home in Salt Lake City and continues to do charity work in the area as well as in Russia.


About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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