Gentry, Kings praying for Alex Len, family members in Ukraine

Alex Len

Kings interim coach Alvin Gentry began his pregame press conference Thursday with a statement regarding a situation much bigger than basketball.

With Ukraine under invasion from Russia, which began Wednesday, Gentry revealed the Kings held a team meeting in support of center Alex Len, who was born in Antratsyt, Ukraine in 1993.

"Before we get started, I just wanted to say that we had a little meeting in the locker room, and obviously, Alex Len being from Ukraine and has family over there and relatives over there," Gentry told reporters. "And so I would just like for you guys to keep him in your prayers and hopefully his family is going to remain safe. So I think that's very important. And he's very important to us, not just as a player, but as a person. He's a tremendous human being and we just want him to know we're praying for his family."

Gentry acknowledged that while there aren't a lot of details, he was able to state that Len's family members in Ukraine were safe for the time being.

Len and Svi Mykhailiuk, the only two active Ukrainian nationals currently playing in the NBA, released a joint statement a little over five hours before Gentry's statement.

Moments before the Kings tipped off against the Denver Nuggets at Golden 1 Center, both teams gathered together on the court for a moment of silence in solidarity for Ukraine.

The 28-year-old Len played his high school ball at Dnipropetrovsk Higher College before spending one season in the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague. After two years playing for the Maryland Terrapins, Len was selected No. 5 overall by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.


In addition to the Suns and Kings, Len has spent time with the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors. This is Len's second stint in Sacramento.

Ukraine has produced nine NBA players and Len is the all-time leader in points scored, rebounds, blocks and assists among those players.