It’s been eleven months since Russia invaded Ukraine to spark the ongoing conflict that has been largely defined by the brave resilience of a country that has taken the ultimate stand in the face of an extreme amount of senseless violence and suffering.
A number of notable figures in the world of sports have stepped up to defend their native land; Bellator champ Yaroslav Amosov wasted no time making the decision to take up arms against Russian forces, and retired boxer Vitali Klitschko has spent close to a year going above and beyond his mayoral duties in Kyiv while helping to defend the city.
Last year, ex-NBA player Slava Medvedenko also did what he could to aid the cause when he auctioned off the two championship rings he earned during his time with the Lakers in the early 2000s. The retired power forward was ultimately able to sell them for $253,534 before donating the funds to benefit local relief efforts in his homeland.
When Medvedenko revealed his plan in May, the Lakers not only endorsed the move but promised to replace the commemorative hardware. Now, the team has lived up to its word thanks to the classy move it pulled during a ceremony on Monday night.
Medvedenko served as the guest of honor at an event where team president Jeanie Buss understandably got a little bit emotional during a presentation where she lauded him with the praise he undoubtedly deserves, saying, “When you auctioned off your championship rings, you demonstrated not only your commitment to your country but also your devotion to those in need.”
Lakers governor Jeanie Buss just presented Slava Medvedenko with replacement championship rings at a Lakers fan event after he sold his to help his home country of Ukraine fight the war against Russia. pic.twitter.com/qOdRWomV5w
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) January 24, 2023
Props to Buss and the Lakers for going out of their way to honor Medvedenko’s impressive selfishness.