September 30, 2022

Slava Medvedenko played alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, winning back-to-back championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s. He has a point to show for it.

But he puts his own two championship rings are up for auction this week “because I want to help my country,” the Ukrainian native told CBS News.

Medvedenko said 100% of the money from the auction will go to his Fly High Foundation, “to help the children, to send them from eastern Ukraine, to take them to a safe place.”

Some of the most intense battles during war in Ukraine took place in Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine.

Once the war is over, Medvedenko said his foundation “will rebuild and build sports gymnasiums in schools because 100 schools [have been] was completely destroyed.”

“Sports is mental rehabilitation,” he said.

Although Medvedenko has no military experience, he is one of the many people who volunteered to fight to defend Ukraine, as he dreams of better days to come.

“I just recognized that I can die in an instant,” Medvedenko said of why he decided to part with his rings. “These rings are going to sit in a safe, he can’t help me. I have to do something positive.”

Bryant talks to Medvedenko
FILE — Kobe Bryant talks with Slava Medvedenko of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on October 29, 2002 in Los Angeles, California.

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