Ex-Laker Slava Medvedenko Auctions Championship Rings in Support of Ukraine

Two-time NBA champion Slava Medvedenko is auctioning off his championship rings to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.

A native of Ukraine, Medvedenko played seven seasons in the NBA, winning two championships alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers. He joined the Lakers as an NBA rookie in 2000 to win the last two titles in a hat-trick earned by the core Bryant-O’Neal.

Medvedenko, 43, lives in Kyiv. He told The Associated Press on Sunday that he decided to sell the rings while watching Russian rockets light up the night sky from a rooftop in his hometown.

“Right now I just decided, ‘Why do I need these rings if they’re just in my safe?'” Medvedenko told AP. to show leadership, to help my Ukrainian people to live better, to help the children.

Los Angeles Lakers Slava Medvedenko against Charlotte Bobcats on March 12, 2005 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Lakers won 117-116.  MANDATORY CREDIT: (Rick Havner for TSN) DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Slava Medvedenko is auctioning off his Lakers championship rings. (Rick Havner for TSN/Getty)

Medvedenko has three children aged 10 to 16. He says he sent them to live with their grandmother in another part of Ukraine when Russia invaded in February. He has since served in Ukraine’s territorial defense, joining other top Ukrainian athletes like boxers Vasiliy Lomachenko and Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko to take up arms against Russia.

He ran for a Kyiv City Council seat in 2020, but did not win. He told AP his family joined him in Kyiv as the fighting moved away from the city. He says he still hears air-raid sirens almost daily. He spoke with AP about his experience fighting the Russian invasion, which included carrying an AK-47.

“We were defending our neighborhood, doing checkpoints and service patrols,” Medvedenko said. “I’m not the best soldier, I’m not the best shooter, but I can give them support. I shoot sometimes, not people. I’m glad I don’t get the chance to shoot someone.” a. Our army did a great job defending Kyiv. I want to thank them.

Medvedenko spoke of a charity basketball game he hosted in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, with proceeds going to Ukrainian refugees who had crossed the border into the neighboring country. He plans to use the proceeds from the auction of his rings to rebuild sports facilities destroyed during the war.

“We want to restore the gymnasiums because the Russian army bombed more than a hundred schools,” he said. “Our country needs a lot of money to repair schools. Gyms will be the last to fix it. In Ukraine we have winter and children have to play inside.

The auction runs from July 27 to August 5 on SCP Auctions, which guarantees that 100% of the proceeds will benefit Ukraine. SCP estimated to AP that each ring would fetch over $100,000.

Medvedenko played six seasons with the Lakers, mostly as a backup before joining the Atlanta Hawks for his final NBA season. He averaged 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game for his career.

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