00:00, 01 октября 2007, Популярные статьи

FIBA Assist Magazine

Kirilenko adores Blatt

28 () 2007, 01 октября 2007
Виды спорта:
Персоны, Профессиональный спорт

Kirilenko adores Blatt

FIBA Assist Magazine

Фото: FIBA Assist Magazine

Andrei Kirilenko has paid a glowing tribute to Russia coach David Blatt for helping him rekindle his love for basketball and realize his dream of capturing a gold medal at the EuroBasket in Madrid. The tournament MVP has also revealed, though, he wants to leave the Utah Jazz, saying he "doesn't want to be a robot in [Utah coach Jerry] Sloan's system". Kirilenko has made the comments in a blog posted on the Russian website Sport Today, with the blog translated by the Salt Lake City Tribune.

"Obviously, Sloan is a legendary coach," Kirilenko wrote. "He's had great experience. He grew a number of great players and many times he has taken Utah to the NBA Finals. But for me, his style and his system are not quite fitting. Thanks to Sloan, he gave me a chance to realize myself as an NBA player. Thanks to him, I became an All-Star in 2004 and I think he did a lot to help me to sign this huge contract.”

"Blatt, in turn, helped me to realize a dream, to become a champion with a Russian team. That's worth a lot to me. You wouldn't believe how happy I feel to win games for my own country. For this, I'm deeply grateful to Blatt." Russia went unbeaten in their group with wins over Greece, Serbia and Israel, and lost just one qualifying round game against Spain. However, they upset the world champions and EuroBasket hosts on Sunday, with Kirilenko pouring in a game-high 17 points. "I respect and value him for his ability to organize the players so the strongest qualities of each are used 100%," Kirilenko continued his blog. "He is able to motivate a team using a positive approach even though he could be strict enough without using psychological pressure.”

"He gives everybody a chance to feel that he is very important and the result of the team depends on each player. That actually helps players to feel confident. There are 12 basketball players on a team and each of them needs an individual approach. That's just the only way a player can demonstrate 100% result because a coach is not just an organizer, he is a psychologist.”

"So thanks to Blatt who after the bad NBA season, he still believed in me and he created conditions in the team for me that I can demonstrate the highest quality playing and bring the most to the team. In other words, for Russia and under Blatt, I'm ready to play and I love to do that."

Kirilenko averaged a careerworst 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season in Utah.

"In a week, I need to join the Utah Jazz again but quite frankly, I'm not really happy about that," he wrote.

"The past season was bad for me and I was really disappointed. I've thought about it a lot and I came to a decision. I want to leave Utah Jazz. The European championships that just ended became sort of a test for me and now I think I know what I want to do. Coach Sloan is one of the reasons. It's not the only reason. In the six years I spent in NBA, I definitely have great experience. It's quite clear that NBA is the strongest, most powerful basketball league in the world and every game makes you better as a player just because there is a challenge. Those conditions make you stronger. “

"All those words would be correct as far as I'm concerned, but there is an exception - the two past seasons. [Sloan's] main method to motivate players is to create a feeling of guilt. Our wages, our errors in games and whatever we do beyond playing for the Jazz is also an excuse to criticize us. I want to play basketball. I want to be happy playing basketball, but I don't want to be a robot in Sloan's system. Therefore I don't really see any future in Utah Jazz for myself. Yes, I have a huge and expensive contract, but I'm sure that I've never been insincere toward the fans of Jazz.”

"I feel great gratitude to them for their love and support. They have helped me from the very first minute in Salt Lake City. I have no doubt they will understand the motives that move me. I have never told it to anybody but a few weeks ago, I talked to the general manager of Utah, Kevin O'Connor. I told him that I don't see myself in the team and want to leave. Quite clearly, Utah and me see my place and role in the team differently.”

"I don't want myself and my contract to be a burden for the club. I want the club to continue in its own direction. It's their choice. I have only one request. Let me, myself, go in the direction I want to go.

"I don't want to be there and mechanically fulfill a contract. Unfortunately, it's been more than a week, but I haven't heard from the Jazz leadership. There's no response negative or positive and this silence is just one more evidence of the way they treat me.

"Nevertheless, I'm really hopeful that Utah Jazz leadership will realize that our relationship is over and it's time for us to part ways."