Former Laker Slava Medvedenko selling rings to raise money for Ukraine

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Former Los Angeles Lakers player Stanislav Medvedenko is selling his two NBA championship rings to raise money for his native Ukraine.
Source: Associated Press @ Sports Illustrated

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SCP Auctions is donating the entire final sale price of both rings to Medvedenko’s Fly High Foundation. Its goal is to support Ukrainian children by restoring the sports infrastructure of the war-torn country’s schools and launching a network of social sports clubs. “We want to restore gyms because the Russian army bombed more than a hundred schools,” he told The Associated Press by phone on Sunday. “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.” -via Sports Illustrated / July 24, 2022

Medvedenko said he decided to sell the rings after going to the roof of one of the tallest buildings in his Kyiv neighborhood and watching rockets launched by Russian forces streak through the night sky. “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.” -via Sports Illustrated / July 24, 2022

Explosions punctuate the night sky over Kyiv as Slava Medvedenko stares through a pair of high-powered binoculars. An AK-47 at his side, he studies the black, forested expanse that separates him from the frontlines of Russia’s war in his native Ukraine. 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. 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 serve as a snapshot of the stiff civilian resistance experts have said Russian forces were not prepared to meet. -via The Athletic / May 25, 2022