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Kirilenko Aims to Make Basketball Popular in Russia

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After spending more than a decade in the NBA, former All-Star Andrei Kirilenko is taking on what may be his biggest challenge yet — rescuing basketball in his native Russia.

Since Kirilenko helped his national team win Olympic bronze in 2012, Russian basketball has gone into a tailspin. The national team is in danger of failing to qualify for next year’s Olympics and the sport is losing fans to the likes of soccer and ice hockey. But Kirilenko thinks he can help turn things around.

“A couple of years ago, (basketball) was the fourth or third (most popular) sport; right now I think it’s seventh, something like that,” said the 6-foot-9 forward. “I want basketball to be popular and to be in every house in our country.”

Source: The Associated Press

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