By now you know that Ron Artest is a different dude. To say Ron Ron marches to the beat of his own drum goes without saying like LeBron James has mirrors in every room of his South Beach mansion.
Artest made headlines for announcing that he was going to auction his championship ring and donate the proceeds to school programs for those aspiring to work in the mental health industry.
But he didn’t stop there.
As Bill Plaschke details in the L.A. Times today, Artest is making the rounds in SoCal, going from school to school, in hopes of raising mental health awareness.
For a man notoriously known for one of the darkest chapters in NBA history to go from villain to a hero who thanked his psychiatrist psychologist only moments after winning his first title is truly an American tale.
Artest is a hoops savant. Off the court, Ron doesn’t always make sense to many of us. His dichotomy was ever present this week as he made headlines for driving an F1 car with expired tags then turned around and spoke to a group of students in Montebello about mental health.
On the court, everything seems to click for Artest. As the basketball world saw for themselves, Artest has the knack for being in the right place at the right time. The world makes sense to Ron between those lines.
Now, Ron is on a quest to help others find their own way to make sense of the world.
We’re all guilty of it. I know I’ve called Artest ‘crazy’ and ‘weird’.
But whatever path Ron has taken to get to the point where his ‘weirdness’ helps others, then I’d call you ‘crazy’ for not being moved by his motives.
By giving up his ring, Ron is showing that material wealth means nothing without mental wellness. A hard lesson the likes of Mike Tyson and perhaps Joaquin Phoenix are learning right now too.
By giving up his time, Ron is showing the youth of this world that there is nothing wrong with who you are just as much as there is nothing wrong with asking for help.
If none of this is sinking in now, don’t worry. You’ll be beaten over the head with this storyline by ABC and ESPN during the Lakers fourth straight trip to the Finals come next June.