MINNEAPOLIS It's where he learned to be a pro. It's where Jerry Sloan "created" him. It's where he has so many friends, so many acquaintances after 10 seasons that he thinks he might know everyone in the first 20 rows of the arena. It's where he learned English, "the bad words first, but then you're got that base, and you're playing around with it."
It's where he learned the value of every game and every win, where in 2003-04, without John Stockton and Karl Malone, the Jazz missed the playoffs by one game. One game out of 82. Nine years later, he's still incredulous, and he knows it could happen again, this time to his new team up north.
It's where Wednesday night, he'll do a double take as he walks in and enters the guest locker room.
Andrei Kirilenko spent a decade with the Jazz, entering the league on a team with Stockton and Malone, coached by Sloan. He left Utah, with its new players and new coach, a free agent during the 2011 lockout, and after a season in Russia, he knew his...