Andrei Kirilenko, a 10-year NBA veteran out of Russia, was part of the early waves of European stars coming to the league – when he was drafted in 1999 he was the youngest European ever taken. A decade later he likes what he found here.
So much so that the Jazz forward and his wife became United States citizens, passing their citizenship test and getting sworn in this week. The couple has two sons born here who are American citizens, but their adopted daughter from Russia will have to wait a few years.
At the Desert News Kirilenko listed some of the questions on the test: Why the colonists didn’t like Great Britain? How many amendments to the Constitution Which territory was given to the U.S. from France? Who is the vice president?
I shudder to think how many American citizens would miss those questions.
UPDATE 11:26 pm: It was close, but the red tide was not enough to help out Chris Dudley in a blue state. He conceded the race tonight.
1:04 pm: Two former NBA centers were on the ballot last night, trying to win elected office. One lost, one had gone into overtime and is still waiting to learn his fate.
Former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley is still waiting for the final tally of the gubernatorial vote in Oregon (as of this writing it was still too close to call). He entered the race with an uphill battle — he was the Republican candidate in about the bluest state in the nation. The last time Oregon elected a Republican governor the Simpsons was just making its debut as a short on the Tracy Ulman show (1987). But the national red wave may carry him to office.
Dudley has 49 percent of the vote, which is much better than his career 41 percent shooing percentage in the NBA.
If he wins, Dudley might be the one Republican governor invited to the White House to play basketball on the court President Barack Obama had put in. Note to Dudley: When Obama is driving for a layup and you have the block lined up, just remember the Secret Service carries guns.
Dudley fared a lot better than Shawn Bradley, the 7’6” former Maverick player who ran for a House of Representatives seat in Utah. Bradley lost that race. Bradley is a Republican who lost to a Democrat in Utah, which I didn’t know could happen.
Not that it was really ever in question, but there are no plans to bring in a younger coach with better hair and a different system to the Utah Jazz.
Owner Greg Miller gave about as ringing an endorsement of 68-year-old Sloan as he could to the Salt Lake Tribune before the Jazz went out and stunk up the joint in their home opener Thursday.
“I’m in zero hurry to push Jerry out,” said Miller, prior to tipoff of the Jazz’s 2010-11 home opener versus Phoenix. “It’s because he’s still producing. He’s still working as hard today as he was the day we hired him, if not harder…”
“I think he’ll probably die with a shovel in his hand or on a tractor,” Miller said. “And I think if Jerry felt that he was losing a step, he would come to us before we’d notice it.
“So, for the time being, I just consider myself extremely blessed. And I speak for the whole family, for the whole organization, when I say that I consider myself blessed that Jerry Sloan is our coach, and I’m very proud of the fact that he’s been with us as long as he has.”
Sloan may have to work harder than ever to get this group of players to jell and run the offense, at least based on a first game performance. But he’s not going anywhere. Not that anybody thought he was.
Here is the schedule to set your life — or at least your DVR — by for the next couple of weeks. Note that all times listed are Eastern. If you don’t live out East (and I don’t) then do the math in your head. It keeps you sharp.
Cleveland vs. Chicago
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Cleveland 3:00PM ABC
Game 2 – Mon April 19 at Cleveland 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Chicago 7:00PM TNT
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Chicago 3:30PM ABC
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Cleveland TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Chicago TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Cleveland TBD
Orlando vs. Charlotte
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Orlando 5:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed April 21 at Orlando 7:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Sat April 24 at Charlotte 2:00PM TNT
Game 4 – Mon April 26 at Charlotte TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Orlando TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Charlotte TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Orlando TBD
Atlanta vs. Milwaukee
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Atlanta 5:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Atlanta 7:00PM NBATV
Game 3 – Sat April 24 Milwaukee 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Mon April 26 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Atlanta TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Atlanta TBD
Boston vs. Miami
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Boston ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Boston 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 at Miami 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Miami 1:00PM ABC
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Boston TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Miami TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Boston TNT
L.A. Lakers vs. Oklahoma City
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at L.A. Lakers 3:00PM ABC
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at L.A. Lakers 10:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM TNT
Game 4 – Sat April 24 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM ESPN
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Oklahoma City TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Dallas vs. San Antonio
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Dallas 8:00PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed April 21 at Dallas 9:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 San Antonio 9:30PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 25 San Antonio 7:00PM TNT
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Dallas TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at San Antonio TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Dallas TNT
Phoenix vs. Portland
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Phoenix 10:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Phoenix 10:00PM NBATV
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Portland 10:00PM NBATV
Game 4 – Sat April 24 at Portland 4:30PM TNT
Game 5 * Mon April 26 at Phoenix TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Portland TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Phoenix TBD TNT
Denver vs. Utah
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Denver 10:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Mon April 19 at Denver 10:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 at Utah 10:30PM ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Utah 9:30PM TNT
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Denver TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Utah TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Denver TBD