Kirilenko retires from Russian national team

After winning a bronze medal at the London Olympics, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko has decided to retire from the Russian national basketball team — at least for now — according to a statement on the website of Russia’s Basketball Federation.

The federation’s report states that Kirilenko met with RBF president Alexander Krasnenkov recently and decided that he would not play for the team during the next Olympic cycle in order to spend more time with his family.

Through the past Olympic cycle, Kirilenko had been the star and leader of the Russian team under coach David Blatt. Blatt left his position with the Russian team in October.

Kirilenko, who turned 32 on Monday, conducted an interview with Sport Express Newspaper in which he discussed his decision and how he needs to make family more of a priority.

“I want to be the best dad and be more involved in the lives of my children,” he told Sport Express. “I want to see them grow up — not be limited to (reading them) bedtime stories . . . I’m not ready to spend most of the summer in the team and not with the family. If it were possible to combine, I would certainly do it.”

Kirilenko has three children, two sons and an adopted daughter. Throughout his tenure with Russian national team, he participated in three Olympics, winning a bronze medal in 2012. His first Olympics were the 2000 Sydney Games. He also won a gold medal in 2007’s FIBA Eurobasket and a bronze medal in the 2011 competition.

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