Ukrainian Slava Medvedenko sells two of his NBA championship rings to help his country

Ukrainian Slava Medvedenko sells two of his NBA championship rings to help his country

NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, in 2001 and 2002 with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, Ukrainian Slava Medvedenko is auctioning off his two champion rings to raise funds for his country at war.

The goal of Slava Medvedenko, 43, is to support Ukrainian children by restoring sports facilities in the country’s schools destroyed by war and by launching a network of social sports clubs.

“We want to restore the gymnasiums because the Russian army bombed over a hundred schools,” he told The Associated Press. “Our country needs a lot of money to repair schools. Sports gymnasiums will be the last to be repaired. In Ukraine we have winter and children have to play inside. »

The Californian company that will take care of the auction estimates that the two rings will bring in at least $100,000.

Medvedenko said he decided to sell the two rings after going to the roof of one of the tallest buildings in his Kyiv neighborhood and seeing rockets launched by Russian forces streak across the night sky.

“At that point, I just decided, ‘Why do I need these rings if they’re just in my safe? I just recognize that I can die. After that, I just say that I have to sell them to show leadership to people, to help my Ukrainian people live better, to help children. »

In an interview with The AthleticMedvedenko previously said he had already auctioned off much of the Lakers-era memorabilia to help support Ukraine, including sneakers and jerseys.

Medvedenko made the decision to stay in Ukraine after Russia invaded in February, where he and a group of volunteers formed Volunteer Formation No. 29 of the 128th Kyiv Territorial Defense Battalion. His wife, Elena, ran the group’s radio, which garnered more than 200 volunteers in the first two weeks. Medvedenko sent her two youngest children, Masha, 11, and Slava, 10, to her mother-in-law’s home in western Ukraine, away from the fighting. Her eldest daughter, Alona, ​​lives in Texas.

Photo: NBA

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