News from and about Ukraine & Ukrainians: Ukrainian Community Press Releases
BRAMA, June 25, 2002, 1 am ET
Let's Go Slava!!!
... yelled Kobe Bryant as the Lakers concluded their pre-game practice session and headed into the locker room.
Some professional sportsmen's careers explode with unmitigated brilliance, continuing similarly throughout their span. No question that those of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are in this category. Others accumulate momentum gradually over time, acquiring abilities and tactics, developing and refining critical moves. We believe that Kyivan Stanislav (Slava) Medvedenko's falls into this latter category.
As Brama reported on 4/11/02 (see Basketball playing Ukrainians ...), prior to playing in the NBA Stanislav played for B.K. (Basketbol Klub) Kyiv where he averaged 21.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Shepherded by Aleksandr Volkov, a "basketball eminence grise" (the first player from Ukraine when it was still part of the Soviet Union to sign an NBA contract to play for the Atlanta Hawks) Stanislav signed a two-year contract in 2000 with one of the greatest NBA teams - the Los Angeles Lakers. In spite of the domination of the team's star Slava's presence is increasing moving from playing an average 5.6 minutes per game to 10.3, playing as much as 26 at a recent (4/3/02) Lakers-Nets game, and scoring a high of 18 points on 12/14/01 vs the LA Clippers.
Hanya Krill and Vasyl Lopukh - Brama's intrepid interviewers - caught up with Slava at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey prior to the 4th game of NBA Finals between the Lakers and the New Jersey Nets (a game that the Lakers won, claiming their third consecutive NBA title). Here are their questions and Slava's replies translated from Ukrainian into English.
On Wednesday June 12th the New Jersey Nets presented their most serious challenge of the NBA finals. Nevertheless, the Lakers went on to win the match, the series and as a result the 2002 NBA Championship -- their third consecutive one and Slava Medvedenko's second. The Lakers have expressed desire to seek a fourth NBA title, but questions remain - contracts for seven of the thirteen players expire on July 1st, including that of Slava Medvedenko's.
Prospects for Slava Medvedenko are nothing but positive to stay in the league given his experience, whether it is with the Lakers or another NBA team. In its 6/13/02 edition, The Los Angeles Times noting the Lakers imminent player shuffle presented Slava as the Lakers' "...Ukranian [sic] secret weapon ..." someone who " ... is 6-11, with decent skills and toughness. Still learning the game as well as the language, but they hope to retain him."
Article, interview, translation:
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