Andrei Kirilenko is nominated for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Yes, that HOF

Former Jazzman Andrei Kirilenko makes the 2024 HOF nominee list
Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers
Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers / Lisa Blumenfeld/GettyImages

On Thursday, December 21st, 2023 the Basketball Hall of Fame released their list of 2024 nominees. As with every year, there were expected names and a few surprises, including one of the biggest highlight players of the 2000s, Vince Carter.

One name that might not have been expected was former Utah Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko. While he had a solid career in the NBA, he wasn't the multi-time All-Star that Vince was.

However, Andrei was nominated by the International Committee, which puts him in competition with other international players and gives him a much better chance at induction.

His strongest competition in that category? Juan Carlos Navarro, Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni, Australian and WNBA player Penny Taylor, and coaches Ettore Messina and David Blatt.

All great names, to be sure. But AK47 has a great career to stand up to any of them. He broke ground as a defensive European, playing as a spectacular weak-side defender and one of only a few players to pull off a 5x5 in the NBA (accumulating 5+ in each of the positive statistical categories - points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in the same game). He and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only players to accomplish this feat twice.

He led the Russian FIBA teams to unexpected success, winning the under-19 FIBA World Cup MVP, then leading the Russian Olympic team to an 8th place finish (2000), winning the Russian league MVP (2000), and leading the Russians to medals in the 2012 London Olympics (Bronze) and in Eurobasket (2007, Gold; 2012, Bronze).

And that's just to name a few of his accomplishments. His NBA exploits are well documented, as the youngest European draftee in NBA history in 1999. His All-NBA Defensive team berths, leading the league in blocks, ranking Top 5 in blocks and steals the same season, and playing both ends with reckless abandon. Most of his highlights were with our very own Utah Jazz, in that timeframe after Stockton to Malone and bridging into D-Will, Boozer, and Memo's years, which included a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2007.

He had a storied career overall, which the International Committee prizes over success at the NBA level. So he has a great chance of induction in 2024.

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