The Russian national basketball team participates in different international tournaments such as the Summer Basketball Olympics, the FIBA World Championships, and the EuroBasket.
Through these international tournaments, players from different countries are given a chance to represent their country and let the whole world know that they have some skills to be proud of, and because of that a lot of players become popular in these international tournaments, and these tournaments opens the door of opportunities for the players, some of the players are even invited to play in the NBA.
And these Russian Basketball Players that were given the chance to play in the NBA will be the discussed in great detail.
The Youngest European Basketball Player to be Drafted
Andrei Gennadyevich Kirilenko was born on February 18, 1981 in Izhevsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, but he grew up in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He started playing basketball with the team Spartak Saint Petersburg.
On January 18, 1997, when he was just 16 years old, the Spartak Saint Petersburg participated in the Russian Superleague, and because he was so young then, he became the youngest player to compete in the said Superleague. He joined the CSKA Moscow after playing for the Spartak Saintburg for two seasons.
He led the said team to win the Russian Superleague Championship. On June 30, 1999 , Andrei Kirilenko was signed by the Utah Jazz as the 24th pick overall, and he was just 18 years old then making him the youngest European player to be drafted in the NBA.
Although he was already part of the Utah Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko still stayed with his CSKA Moscow team for two seasons, and in his second to the last season, he led the team to win the inaugural championship of the Eastern European Basketball League. In 2000, he participated in the Summer Olympics as a member of the Russian national basketball team which finished 8th overall in the 2000 Summer Olympics. He joined his NBA team, the Utah Jazz in 2001 and is still with the team up until now. He is considered as on of the best Russian basketball players in the NBA.
Viktor Khryapa was one of the Russian basketball players in the NBA. Viktor Vladimirovich Khryapa was born on the 3rd day of August, 1982 in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, currently known as Ukrain today.
He started playing professional basketball with the team Khimik Engels in the year 1999, and after paying one season with the Engels, he joined the Avtodor Saratov in 2000 and stayed with the team for two seasons. After two seasons with the Avtodor Saratov, he signed with the CSKA Moscow in 2002, and in 2003 and 2004 the said team won the Russian Championships.
In 2004, he was signed by the New Jersey Nets as the 22nd pick overall in the 2004 NBA Draft, however the New Jersey Nets traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers. After two seasons with the Trail Blazers, he was again traded to the Chicago Bulls along with Tyrus Thomas on June 28, 2006. The NBA career of Viktor Khryapa ended when the Chicago Bulls bought out Khryapa’s contract after he expressed his frustration due to his lack of playing time during the team’s game.