The end is not in sight, just yet, since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces last February. However, compassion has moved a former NBA player to auction his championship rings in service to humanity.
Former Los Angeles Laker and Ukrainian native, Slava Medvedenko, played six seasons with the Gold and Purple, including the 2000-01 and 2001-02 championship teams that featured Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
Two-time champion Slava Medvedenko is selling his championship rings to support relief efforts in his native Ukraine.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 2, 2022
Auction is now live. Register to bid at https://t.co/mlcD2wqun3 by 7 pm PT on Aug. 5. 100% of the proceeds from the auction go to Slava’s Fly High Foundation. pic.twitter.com/tBxekAzIqL
Giving Back to a Society in Dire Need of Support
The 43 year old spoke from Warsaw, Poland, where he staged a sold out charity basketball game to raise money for Ukrainian refugees who crossed the border to escape the war.
His decision to sell the prized possessions stem from watching Russian rockets streak through the night sky from the rooftop of his home.
“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.”
Some of the most intense fighting during the war in Ukraine has taken place in the Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine.
Former Los Angeles Lakers player Slava Medvedenko is selling his 2 NBA championship rings to raise money to restore sports infrastructure ruined by the 🇷🇺 occupiers.— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) July 25, 2022
Medvedenko:"We want to restore gyms because the 🇷🇺 army bombed more than a hundred schools."@NBA@Lakers
Once the war is over, Medvedenko said his foundation will “rebuild and fix sport gyms in schools because hundreds of schools have been totally destroyed.”
While Medvedenko does not have any military experience, he is one of the many people who volunteered to fight to defend Ukraine as he dreams of better days to come.
How Much Are the Rings Worth?
California-based SCP Auctions will auction the two rings through August 5, with the entire proceeds going to Medvedenko’s Fly High Foundation to benefit kids.
The estimate of each ring is worth about $100,000.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, more than 14,000 fatalities have been recorded.
Support Ukrainian kids when you bid on Slava Medvedenko's 2001 and 2002 Lakers championship rings! All proceeds from the sale will go to Slava's Fly High Foundation https://t.co/f82xasl62g pic.twitter.com/JNLeRgtBrb— SCP Auctions (@SCPAuctions) July 29, 2022