November 30, 2023

247Sportsmyid

Inspired by sport

Sarunas Marciulionis, Alexander Volkov reunite to help kids in Ukraine escape Russian attack

If Alexander Volkov is not the first NBA alumnus to serve in a war, he is unquestionably the oldest. He was a few weeks shy of turning 58 when he put away his business suit and squeezed his 6’10” frame into head-to-toe camo. Ukraine had just been invaded by Russia, and, without hesitation, the former Atlanta Hawk volunteered to defend his homeland.

He met with a local militia-type group to distribute weapons and organize makeshift training drills. He helped arrange for trailers filled with humanitarian aid to arrive from neighboring countries. He went on night watch, folding his body into his Volkswagen Touareg and driving around his village outside of Kyiv, “patrolling for looters and saboteurs.” This sure as hell wasn’t the way Volkov—a grandfather, a sports minister and a 2020 FIBA Hall of Fame inductee—envisioned spending his nights. But, as he puts it, “Yes, war is a desperate time.”