Former Lakers big man auctions 2 NBA championship rings to aid Ukraine

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

Former Los Angeles Laker big man Stanislav “Slava” Medvedenko has decided to sell his two NBA championship rings in order to raise money for his home country of Ukraine.

It’s a wonderful gesture by Medvedenko as he tries to help restore his home country as it continues to fight a war with Russia. The 43-year-old was a part of the Lakers’ championship teams in the 2000-01 season and 2001-02 campaign.

“We want to restore gyms because the Russian army bombed more than a hundred schools,” Medvedenko 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.”

Medvedenko was a fan favorite during his time with the Lakers. He played a key role as a backup to Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal and was one of Kobe Bryant’s favorite teammates.

“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.”

It’s amazing that Medvedenko is using his personal possessions to help the people of Ukraine. The former Lakers big man is creating an amazing legacy for himself with his selflessness in this situation.

During his NBA career, Medvedenko was mainly a bench player, but he played a solid role for the Lakers over six seasons. He last played in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2006-07 season.

Medvedenko finished his career with two NBA titles and averaged 5.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.2 blocks per game while shooting 45.0 percent from the field.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.