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Former Laker is selling his championship rings to support Ukraine

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In the early 2000s, Stanislav “Slava” Medvedenko was a benchwarmer for the Los Angeles Lakers when they won the second and third of their three straight NBA championships.

He didn’t get much playing time for most of his six seasons with the team, but when he did, he would sometimes display a deft shooting stroke from the perimeter.

A native of Ukraine, a former Soviet Union nation, Medvedenko eventually returned to his native country once his basketball career ended. He even got involved in politics, running for the Kyiv City Council, which didn’t result in a win for him.

About three months ago, when Russia invaded Ukraine, Medvedenko started helping with the effort against Vladimir Putin’s war.

It has involved supporting and helping the Ukrainian military, to the point of risking his own life.

Via Lakers Daily:

“Former Los Angeles Lakers big man Stanislav “Slava” Medvedenko has been serving in Ukraine’s territorial defense forces during the country’s war against Russia.

“‘In the weeks following Vladimir Putin’s February order for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, this is how Medvedenko spends many of his nights: Manning a guard station atop the tallest building in the Kyiv neighborhood he lives in with his wife and two of his children,’ The Athletic’s Bill Oram wrote.

“‘For four hours every day he watches the road that stretches to the suburban battlefield and anticipates the moment the Russians will come. His efforts serving as a snapshot of the stiff civilian resistance experts have said Russian forces were not prepared to meet.'”

But now Medvedenko is trying to help in another way.

“Medvedenko is doing everything he can to support the Ukrainian army, which for a former NBA star has included auctioning off virtually all memorabilia from his playing days,” Oram wrote. “He said he has already sold T-shirts, jerseys and sneakers. Next up: His championship rings, a process for which he has sought assistance from the Lakers.

“The organization has offered to help however it can, including preparing a shipment of sports gear to send to Ukraine. In an email, Lakers executive Linda Rambis told Medvedenko that if he sold his rings, the team would replace them.”

The Russian war on Ukraine may be a tragedy and a morally bankrupt act by Putin, but it has resulted in many stories of heroism and sacrifice by countrymen such as Medvedenko who have had no formal military training.

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