September 09, 2010
The fact that Ron Artest(notes) is promoting mental health in schools today is amazing in its own right. Considering Artest went from throwing medicine in the garbage to being a government-approved mental-health spokesman in a matter of years, he knows as well as anybody the effectiveness of seeking out help. If that were the end of Artest's foray into mental-health awareness, that would be more than enough.
But since that was only the first graph of a blog post, that's not the end of the story. And really, since it's Ron Artest, there should be no surprise that there's more. Here's the latest development, which just might be more surprising than Artest's school speaking adventure. From NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper:
Artest finally won a title in June after 11 regular seasons of trying ... and now he's planning to sell the championship ring as a fundraiser to put more psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in schools.
"I'm never going to put it on," he said.
Artest plans to soon announce details of what he hopes will become a worldwide auction, and he takes possession of the jewelry in an Oct. 26 pre-game ceremony before the Lakers open against the Rockets. It's an incredible gesture. But it's even more meaningful as a statement.
"You work so hard to get a ring, and now you have a chance to help more people than just yourself, instead of just satisfying yourself," he said. "What's better than that? For me, this is very important."
[Video flashback: Ron Artest's amazing post-game 7 interview]
Awesome? Awesome. No one was happier to win last year's title than Ron Artest, so to see him give up something that obviously means the world to him — just to help people — is really cool. Better than cool, actually. Splendid? Heartwarming? Delightful? No words, really, but let's go with "astonishing." Yeah, that fits.
Ron Artest is a complicated dude — one day he's getting pulled over for driving a miniature race car and the next he's selling his championship ring for charity. Seems like a chill bro, nowadays. Pretty decent basketball player, too.