When Andrei Kirilenko decided to join the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, the NBA world none too happy. Many suspected there was something going on behind the scenes given Kirilenko’s ties to Russian billionaire and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
To make the situation even stickier, Andrei Kirilenko not only decided to join the Nets but he rejected a one-year, $10 million dollar contract option from the Minnesota Timberwolves to play for the Nets on a contract that would pay him $5 million dollars.
How often do you see a player reject a significant amount of money only to play for less? Not very often which is why the NBA decided to investigate the situation though they found no wrongdoing.
That’s a good thing considering Andrei Kirilenko decided to donate the vast majority of his $5 million dollar salary to a Russian orphanage.
“When you came back from NBA to CSKA Moscow for one season, you announced that you would give all of the contract money to charity. Who received that money?”
“Most of it went into Moscow orphanage number 59 – we repaired it, and built a basketball court there. Also, we have bought gear for teams participating in School Basket. We have repaired gyms in many schools.”
I have to say, that’s pretty amazing. Kirilenko has made a significant amount of money during his time in the NBA, but to give up an entire year worth of pay? Impressive.
In addition, Andrei Kirilenko has his Kirilenko’s Kids foundation which he and his wife also fund.