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Former Laker and two-time champion talks about his experience fighting for Ukraine versus Russian invaders

A dramatic life turn!
Slava Medvedenko during his days with the Lakers and currently on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Slava Medvedenko during his days with the Lakers and currently on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Stanislav "Slava" Medvedenko might not be a name NBA fans are too familiar with unless you are a Lakers fan of the early 2000s. But the Ukrainian big man has made the news recently, as he is defending his country from the Russian invasion in the unlikely turn of events for Medvenko's life.

Defending your home

It's been a couple of months since Russia bombed and invaded Ukraine, starting a war that has shocked the whole world. The situation isn't any better nowadays, with countless victims and destruction happening day in and day out.

Russia and Vladimir Putin have become the #1 enemies of the world, while Ukraine and its leaders are getting support from everybody. From their president to former athletes like the Klitschko brothers, every Ukrainian is standing up for their country and even getting involved in the fight.

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Former Ukrainian NBA player Stanislav "Slava" Medvedenko is one of those people, as he revealed in a recent piece by The Athletic how life has looked on the battlefield:

"You saw the tanks and everything rolling towards Kyiv...The people of Ukraine, they surprised me. I saw how they united. I feel like I have to stay in Ukraine and help our country, our nation, understand ourselves. We have to be strong. It's the opportunity to get stronger. Can you imagine? You're just sitting at a checkpoint and you see a big f*cking rocket just fly over you?"

Slava Medvedenko, The Athletic

Switching from living in Los Angels, being a Laker, and living the NBA lifestyle to defending your country in a war must be a shocking transition. All praises for Medvedenko and his brave decision to stay in Ukraine, defending his country.

The 6'10'' big man spent most of his seven-year career with the Lakers, primarily being a bench warmer but winning two championships. But during the 2003-2004 season, Medvedenko would actually be a valuable contributor off the bench, averaging 8.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg in his best NBA year.

Slava would finish his NBA career in 2007 with the Hawks, going back to Europe at 27 years old. But Medvedenko still got remembered as a fan favorite of the Lakers fans during his six-year stint in Los Angeles.

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