Andrei Kirilenko, Back in Utah
So weird remembering that the last time (a) Jazz player(s) returned and it was this big a deal in the media, Jerry Sloan was gone 24 hours later…
** On his time in Utah: You know, starting my career with three Hall of Famers, you know, like Olympic champions and the guys who really symbol of the Jazz for last 30 years. You know, Jerry Sloan, Karl Malone, John Stockton. It’s a big deal, and I learned a lot from them. Jerry the guy who basically, you know, create me, give me NBA career life. You know, it’s a lot of good words about it.
** On coming (going) back to Utah: I can’t imagine how I’m going to step into the EnergySolutions Arena and go the guest locker room…It’s gonna be different…I probably know, like, first 20 rows throughout the building. I know all the fans.
** On not returning to Utah: It was lockout year, you know, I stayed in Russia. And after a year, I think my position of small forward got filled in. You know, Gordon Hayward play very good basketball right now. He’s young [and] promising, and they got Marvin Williams…
Were there talks with the Jazz? I think [my agent talked to the Jazz] and that’s what I know, but they already got that position filled…And there’s no hard feelings here, you know. I had a great time in Utah. I get a lot of great memories, and you know, it’s just the nature of the basketball.
** Is this a game you look forward to, or is it just another game? I mean, it’s a little bit of a special game. It’s, it’s not the game is just a regular game. It’s really gonna be, not overwhelming, but it’s gonna be nice to get that feeling, you know, get back to the arena you spent 10 years at. (via Minnesota Timberwolves)
Via @Twolves_PR: AK visiting w/ some longtime Jazz season ticket holders. A lot of great memories here for #47.
** On returning to the arena: When I step into the EnergySolution Arena, I see all the staff who works here during those ten years, you know, I been here, and I know them by name. Every one of them, and it’s so, so interesting, like, they happy to see [me, and] I’m very happy to see them. That’s special.
** How would you like to be remembered by Jazz fans? I always been a fan of being remembered as a good person rather than just a good player…I think if the people remember you as a good personality, I think it goes a long way rather than just being a good player but being a, you know, jackass or whatever.
** The guest locker room… I didn’t even know the guest locker room was here. I kind of like, “Where the guest locker room. OK. Sure.” … I haven’t been there yet. I’m afraid to go in (laughs). (@da_breezman)
** Old habits are hard to break… At times I’m catching myself, you know, when I’m opening, like, nba.com, you know, searching for the results of the team. I’m looking Jazz, and I’m like, “Did we play?” And then I figure it out, like, “Wait a second, I’m not a Jazz.” (KSL)
Quotes on AK
** Rick Adelman: I think that whole team, the system and the way they did things, I think guys naturally get better. They always played hard for Jerry [Sloan]. His teams always played very hard, and AK has developed into a very good all-around player. Most of those years were under Jerry. (Timberwolves)
** Earl Watson: He’s selfless. He’s a great guy on and off the court. He’s a teammate that you miss, because, you know, just his personality is infectious to the rest of the team. He’s a great passer, he can do a number of things, and he’s just a joy to be a part of and play with and to wear the same jersey, and it’s been a privilege. (1280)
** Kyle Korver: He was just so creative. I remember, I’d throw the ball into him and I’m just cutting through and all of a sudden, he’s bouncing it between his legs and I’m getting a layup. Or he’ s coming out of nowhere to block shots. He was so good along the baseline. We had a couple guys — him and Ronnie Brewer — who worked the baseline like no one else I’ve ever known in the NBA. (Trib)
** Paul Millsap: He was actually a great teammate, a good teammate on the floor (and) off the floor. On the floor, he was very unselfish, I think we all know what kind of a player he was on the court. Off the court he was always joking around, having fun. You can’t really see that, but that’s who he is. (Standard Examiner)
** Tyrone Corbin: A tremendous guy, first of all. A really, really good teammate. He had a great run here with us. The guys seemed to really enjoy having him on the team. We really enjoyed coaching him. I thought he did some good things for this organization. (DN)
** Marvin Williams: He was really able to help this Jazz team win a lot of games. He’s so versatile. He can really shoot the ball. He can pass it. He can guard. He was able to do a lot of things at this position. I’m sure Jazz fans will be excited to see him back here. (DN)
** Al Jefferson Just being a fan of basketball, it is a little weird to see him play with somebody else besides Utah. (@da_breezman)
Saw this on Facebook…Masha’s mom (left) and Masha at the game.
You just knew that AK’s return would send Ross Siler to his keyboard. After going on about AK’s habit of reading (which he once described as “WTF”) and dressing too quickly after games, questioning his commitment, talking about the luxury cap relief the Jazz could have had had LHM not vetoed a trade for AK, and of course bringing up AK’s breakdown in Houston, Siler manages to put a negative spin on this:
This tweet from @SurlyMae wasn’t in response to Siler’s tweets (it was about booing AK/former players), but the sentiment fits:
In contrast to Siler, here’s the perspective of the Jazz’s Spanish radio broadcast analyst, Dan Clayton: