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Former LA Lakers player Stanislav Medvedenko picks up AK-47 to fight for Ukraine

Slava was in California for six years and became an NBA champion twice in 2001 and 2002.

Abhishek Sandikar Author

Updated - 24 May 2022 7:01 pm

Former Los Angeles Lakers centre Stanislav “Slava” Medvedenko has recently opened up his time serving in Ukraine’s territorial defence forces during the country’s war against Russia. Medvedenko recently spoke to The Athletic and opened up about the on-ground conditions in the capital city of Kyiv.

“In the weeks following Vladimir Putin’s February order for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, this is how Medvedenko spends many of his nights: Manning a guard station atop the tallest building in the Kyiv neighbourhood he lives in with his wife and two of his children,” The Athletic’s Bill Oram wrote.

“For four hours every day, he watches the road that stretches to the suburban battlefield and anticipates the moment the Russians will come. His efforts serving as a snapshot of the stiff civilian resistance experts have said Russian forces were not prepared to meet,” the article continued. 

Medvedenko talked about how he often sees rockets flying over his head. He said, “Can you imagine, you’re sitting at a checkpoint and you see a big f***** rocket flying overhead. “When you’re in this process… you don’t have time to panic. I feel I have to be in Ukraine and help my country, my nation. We have to be strong.”

A few months back, while talking to the Sport Arena, Medvedenko opened up about his decision to stay back despite having a passage out of Ukraine. He said, “Of course, there was an opportunity to go abroad but I don’t think you need to go anywhere. At this time, you need to stay in Kyiv – support and do everything you can.” 

Medvedenko started his professional career with Budivelnik Kyiv in 1997. Then he played in clubs in Ukraine and Lithuania until 2000, when he was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers. Slava was in California for six years and became an NBA champion twice in 2001 and  2002. After his time in Los Angeles, he was picked up by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2006-07 season. The power forward/centre has a career average of 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds over 263 games.

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