Utah Jazz: Does Andrei Kirilenko Still Have the Free Pass?


TMZ recently caught up with former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko at LAX. Their mission: to discover if AK-47 still gets an annual “hall pass.”

In the annals of Utah Jazz lore, Andrei Kirilenko stands apart as one of the unique figures in the history of the team. AK-47 was ahead of the NBA curve as an uber athletic, playmaking big man that could throw a no-look pass for a bucket with the same dexterity that he could swat shots into the fourth row.

Of course, for all the great things Kirilenko accomplished on the hardwood, he’s known in some circles in equal stead for something entirely different. Namely, the yearly “free pass” given to him by his wife, Masha, which allowed the former Jazzman to explore some of the fringe benefits of NBA stardom, i.e. female groupies.

The great Kirilenko freebie saga first came to light in ESPN: The Magazine several years ago and quickly captured the imagination of fans, the media and men everywhere. At the time, Kirilenko maintained that he hadn’t taken advantage of Masha’s gift, but is that the case today and is the hall pass still in effect?

TMZ recently caught up with the pair at LAX and needlessly pestered asked the Kirilenkos about the arrangement

Masha’s response was classic, but her hoops legend husband seemed less than interested in bringing up old business. Clearly, he has bigger fish to fry.

Kirilenko, who turned 35 last week, is in his first year as the president of the Russian Basketball Federation. With Russia’s basketball program having fallen on hard times in recent years, Kirilenko has made it his mission to bring the sport back to prominence in his country.

He retired from his playing career last summer after helping CSKA Moscow win the VTB United League title.

Earlier this month, CSKA president Andrei Vatutin expressed interest in a farewell game for AK-47. However, Kirilenko seemed lukewarm on the idea in statements made to Russian News Agency TASS. Here is the translation from the news agency’s English site–

"“I believe that last year’s victory over Khimki in the final match of the VTB United League was the farewell game for me. However, I would not refuse if basketball fans think it would be necessary for them to see me at such an event. After all, CSKA is my home club, just like the Utah Jazz.”"

Next: Derrick Favors is Grooving Despite Jazz Struggles

Whether he takes the court again or not, it’s nice to see that AK still has love for the Jazz. You also have to give it up to Masha for having a sense of humor despite the standard TMZ harassment.