Jeff Gross/Getty Slava Medvedenko
According to ABC 7, the "Lakers Rings for Relief" event closed Friday night under SCP Auctions, with both rings selling for $126,767 each. The Fly High Foundation will receive the full sale price of the rings in an effort to support Ukrainian children by providing access to rehabilitation camps and sports clubs. Medvedenko established the foundation alongside journalist and fellow Ukrainian Mykola Vasylkov earlier this year.
Per the foundation's official website, Fly High strives to "return Ukrainian kids to a happy life and help them overcome current difficulties, find friends and enjoy life" through "active leisure, sports and support of professional psychologists."
Auction officials told ABC 7 that the sale prices "blew away any previous result for rings from these years." The rings were from Medvedenko's championship seasons with the Lakers in 2001 and 2002, alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
In July, Medvedenko, 43, told the Associated Press that he is hoping to raise funds to "restore" parts of Ukraine damaged during Russia's ongoing attacks on the country. Medvedenko said he was inspired to auction off the rings after watching rockets soar over Ukraine.
"In this moment I just decided, 'Why do I need these rings if they're just sitting in my safe?' " Medvedenko, who lives in Kyiv, told the outlet. "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."
"We want to restore gyms because the Russian army bombed more than a hundred schools," he continued. "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."
Robert Mora/NBAE via Getty Slava Medvedenko
"In Ukraine, you're just feeling it's war, rockets, air alerts. You're so used to that kind of pressure," Medvedenko told the AP of what life has been like since the start of the war in February. "As soon as you cross the border and see how people live normal life, it's a different world," he continued.
After the war began, Medvedenko sent his daughters, ages 16 and 11, to live with a relative, according to the AP. "We were defending our neighborhood, doing checkpoints and duty patrol. I'm not the best solider, I'm not the best shooter, but I can give them support," he explained. "I shoot [guns] a couple times, not at people. I'm happy I don't have a chance to shoot somebody. Our army did a great job to defend Kyiv. I want to thank them."
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Medvedenko played for the Lakers from 2000 to 2006 and won two NBA titles as a member of the historic Lakers team led by Bryant, O'Neal and head coach Phil Jackson.
The retired athlete told the AP that he still speaks with some of his former teammates. "The Lakers family always help me," he said. "The Lakers are always in my heart."