September 02, 2010
Some things go together perfectly. You know, peanut butter and chocolate, bread and butter, Brad Miller(notes) and camoflauge shorts — you get the gist. These combinations are so natural and so ideal that it's hard to imagine them without each other.
On the other side of the "things that go well together" spectrum — Ron Artest(notes) and mental health. He made a name for himself by being completely unhinged in every way, shape and form. Furthermore, in the past when it's been recommended that he be on mood-controlling medication, Artest would "throw it in the garbage."
But things have changed for Ron-Ron. The first sign was him giving his psychiatrist a shoutout in his amazing post game speech. The latest is the community work he'll be doing in Montebello, CA, next week. From Daniel Tedford of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:
OK, maybe you need like a time and place, oh and the reason world champion Los Angeles Laker and game 7 hero Ron Artest is going to be in Montebello tomorrow.
Apparently, he has teamed up with Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (no, really, I'm serious) to raise awareness about mental health stigma's and advocate for the Mental Health in Schools Act, a.k.a. HR 2531.
That's right — Ron Artest is going to be speaking to kids in school about mental health. When you read that sentence, you realize how much has the world has changed without you even realizing it. It's amazing that a guy who went in to a crowd of people with fists flying during a professional basketball game is now a spokesperson for seeking out mental health assistance.
That being said, I'm with Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk who thinks this is a "pretty good fit." There aren't a lot of famous people who have shown such positive effects from getting help with their mental health problems. Because, seriously, Ron Artest has gone from being a crazy person who fights fans to a guy who made the most important shot in the biggest game of his life then thanked his psychiatrist for giving him the confidence to be a champion. Heck, they can just show that whole sequence in schools and Artest wouldn't even have to talk to be an effective spokesman.
However, I'm guessing he's going to have a few things to say about the matter. That's awesome for him, that's great for the kids and it's going to be great for us to find out what he has to say about getting his mind right. Very cool.