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NBA all-star Kirilenko to head Russian Basketball Federation

NBA all-star Kirilenko to head Russian Basketball Federation
Renowned Russian basketball player Andrey Kirilenko has been unanimously elected as president of the Russian basketball Federation. The Russian sports icon is expected to solve many problems in Russian basketball which have even led to sanctions of FIBA.

“That is very exciting… It’s a great challenge for me. I will do my best to make our basketball strong,” Kirilenko told the Russian sport website championat.com.

He was the only candidate in the elections because his only competition, Dmitri Domani, refused to participate.

“I cannot influence other candidates. I am really happy that our elite has made this choice,” Kirilenko said, commenting on the situation.

Kirilenko said his key priorities will be the Russian basketball championship and the EuroBasket tournament which will start ten days later.

“The last ten days of preparation for the EuroBasket must be spent in a positive atmosphere. We do not want out basketball players to have any failures,” said Kirilenko.

READ MORE: NBA all-star Kirilenko gunning to become new Russian basketball chief

In late July, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) imposed sanctions against the Russian Basketball Federation because of “lack of transparency” in the organization. The conflict began in 2013 when Yulia Anikeeva was elected as head of the federation. That decision was challenged by the Basketball Federation of Perm Krai (one of the Russian regions), and a Moscow court held that Anikeeva was not a legitimate president.

The FIBA banned all Russian national teams from participating in international tournaments, but later softened the decision, allowing Russia to play in EuroBasket, which has been relocated from Ukraine because of the civil war in the eastern part of the country.

Andrei Kirilenko is Russia’s most famous basketball player. He played in NBA clubs such as the Utah Jazz, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Brooklyn Nets for 13 years. Kirilenko has a gold medal from EuroBasket 2007, and a bronze medal from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. He has also won a number of individual awards.

Kirilenko, who was nicknamed AK-47 after his initials and the number on his t-shirt, was also famous in the NBA for his oft changing hair styles.