Ex-Laker Slava Medvedenko puts NBA championship rings up for auction to help his native Ukraine

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    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’s got the bling to show for it. 

    But he’s putting his two championship rings up for auction this week “because I want to help my country,” the Ukraine native told CBS News. 

    Medvedenko said 100% of the money from the auction will go to his Fly High Foundation, “to help kids, to send them from the east of Ukraine, to move them in a safe place.” 

    Some of the most intense fighting during the war in Ukraine has taken place in the Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine. 

    Once the war is over, Medvedenko said his foundation will “rebuild and fix sport gyms in schools because 100 schools [have been] totally destroyed.” 

    “Sport is mental rehabilitation,” he said. 

    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. 

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

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

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