Kings' Bogdanovic, Bjelica and Divac donate supplies to fight coronavirus in Serbia

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Former Sacramento Kings center Vlade Divac, left, stands with Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive after being introduced to the crowd at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on March 21, 2014. - Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee/TNS

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Three members of the Kings organization are teaming up to donate needed supplies to medical facilities caring for coronavirus patients in their native Serbia.

Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica are partnering with general manager Vlade Divac’s foundation — the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation — to fund the purchase of ventilators, medical-grade masks and supplies to support hospitals providing critical care for COVID-19 patients, the Kings said in a news release Tuesday.

“I am inspired by all those across the NBA and around the world who have given back to individuals hardest hit by this crisis, which is why it was important to me to support the people back home by providing these supplies to help save lives,” Bogdanovic said in the statement. “I want to thank the brave medical professionals who are working hard every day to treat everyone affected by the coronavirus. I know that soon we will get through this difficult time together.”

Serbia has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases over the past two weeks. According to Johns Hopkins University, Serbia had 2,447 confirmed cases and 61 deaths by Tuesday as a result of the virus, up from 303 cases on March 24.

“I am proud to donate these important resources to assist the heroic frontline workers who are battling COVID-19 and support patients in need of these lifesaving supplies back home,” Bjelica said. “During this time, health and safety is the top priority and we are honored to lend a helping hand.”

The Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation was founded in 2007 to build on the couple’s 30-plus years of humanitarian work. In addition to helping war refugees and internally displaced people, the foundation has long focused on supporting Serbian people during emergency situations.

“The horrific impact of this global pandemic is devastating and our hearts are with every person touched by this crisis,” said Divac, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last summer. “Through our foundation, we work to help provide resources to improve the quality of life and create a better future for the most vulnerable. Ana and I are humbled by this opportunity to join my fellow Kings in sending ventilators, masks and supplies to assist the heroes and patients back home as we face this battle together.”

The Kings said the donation was part of the team’s “In This Together” campaign to help provide support during unprecedented times. The Sacramento Kings Foundation announced last week it will donate $250,000 to area community organizations providing food services, essential supplies and other resources and relief to the region’s most vulnerable families and individuals.

The Kings have also donated 100,000 medical-grade masks to city and state health agencies to distribute to hospitals and healthcare facilities with supply shortages. In March, the Kings and Legends Hospitality donated nearly 5,000 pounds of prepared and perishable food to the Sacramento Food Bank and the Sacramento County Office of Education to help feed individuals in need and families impacted by school closures.

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©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)