Former Lakers PF Slava Medvedenko to Auction 2 NBA Title Rings to Benefit Ukraine

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 24, 2022

NBA Basketball 2005 - Los Angeles Lakers Slava Medvedenko against Charlotte Bobcats on March 12, 2005 in Charlotte, NC. Lakers won 117-116.  (Photo by Rick Havner/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Rick Havner/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Slava Medvedenko is doing what he can to help his home country of Ukraine amid attacks from Russia.

The Associated Press (h/t ESPN) reported the 43-year-old is auctioning the two championship rings he won as a member of the Purple and Gold, and the proceeds will go toward restoring sports infrastructure inside the country's schools.

"We want to restore gyms because the Russian army bombed more than a hundred schools," he said. "Our country, they need a lot of money to fix the schools. Sports gyms are going to be last in the line to fix it. In Ukraine, we have winter and kids need to play inside."

The rings, which he said he decided to sell when he saw rockets launched by Russia while in his Kyiv neighborhood, are expected to raise at least $100,000.

"In this moment I just decided, 'Why do I need these rings if they're just sitting in my safe?'" Medvedenko said. "I just recognize I can die. After that, I just say I have to sell them to show people leadership, to help my Ukrainian people to live better, to help kids."

Medvedenko also hosted a charity basketball game in Poland to raise money for Ukrainian refugees and has served in territorial defense forces during the war.

He played for the Lakers for six seasons from 2000-01 through 2005-06, winning the two rings in his first two seasons. The final season of his NBA career came in 2006-07 when he suited up for the Atlanta Hawks.