Andrei Kirilenko becomes U.S. citizen

1/12/2011 - NBA Andrei Kirilenko Utah Jazz + more

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko still has the Russian accent though he sounded like an American citizen Wednesday talking about taxes.

"You have to pay taxes, all the way to the end of life," he said after Wednesday's shootaround.

Kirilenko and his wife, Masha, both passed the citizenship tests and were sworn in as U.S. citizens Monday afternoon.

Their two sons, both born in the U.S., now are citizens as well. He said their young daughter, adopted in Russia, still must deal with visa issues because she was born in Russia.

He said she has been able to stay in the U.S. only six months at a time and will return to Russia in a month.

"That is a lot of bureaucracy and why we want to make our status in America very legal so we can bring our daughter as well," he said.

He answered six of the seven questions correctly, including ones about the Civil War and Native Americans, which he learned about in Russian schools.

Had he been asked to sing the national anthem, that probably wouldn't have been a problem either.

"About 100 games a year, so 1,000 times I hear Star Spangled Banner. I'm kind of familiar with it," he said.

He said his children will continue to speak both languages. The family also will continue to spend time in Russia each summer. "Best of both worlds," he said.

Asked if he can still play for the Russian National Team, Kirilenko laughed.

"It's not that you can. I will," he said. "It's not like you're not Russian anymore. I'm still Russian."