Ron Artest insistent on auctioning off his championship ring
As the Lakers tried on their 2009 championship rings, Ron Artest remained in the locker room, insistent that he didn't deserve to witness the ceremony. As the Lakers were honored by President Obama for their championship run, Artest remained in his hotel room, insistent that he felt sick. And as the Lakers get ready for the season opener Oct. 26 against the Houston Rockets, Artest says he's insistent on auctioning off his championship ring to help charitable efforts involving mental health issues.
"I'll look at it and put it back in the box," Artest said.
He has been lauded for his plan, enough to earn the keys to the city in Las Vegas, meet former President Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and appear at Eastmont Intermediate School in Montebello to speak on mental health issues. But Artest says plenty of people have reached out to him, pleading that he doesn't part with the ring. After all, he had stayed out of last season's activities out of respect for the rest of the team and for the motivation that he'd be able to partake in the celebration someday. The concern has extended to his wife as well.
But as indicated in a wide-ranging interview after Thursday's practice, he won't budge. He said he plans to give his wife a duplicate ring, and revealed he had his ring fit for a size 11 instead of his own size 14, so it would be easier for the average fan to fit the ring on his or her finger.
"You look at the impact I made already with the whole cause, I think you'd do the same thing," Artest said. "I didn't think it was going to be like that. I didn't plan on it being such a major response. I had no idea. But even had I known that, I would still do it and give other things away. It was for short-term impact that hopefully will lead to long-term impact. Now it's getting out of control, but in a good way."
Artest said his brush with community efforts has spurred him to want to do more, particularly after Clinton expressed admiration for the player's redemption story, with the 2010 NBA championship and his charitable efforts now defining him more than the infamous "Malice at the Palace." And his brush with championship success has spurred him do away with other distractions.
He had planned to shoot a reality TV show this past summer, titled "They Call Me Crazy," in conjunction with E1 Entertainment and Tijuana Entertainment, with his race-car incident serving as part of the pilot. But he said he quickly scrapped the plan, fearing that it would distract him from the goal of a Lakers repeat championship.
"I'm not shooting a reality show. This season is too important," he said. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to shoot one. Next summer, I'll be training really hard. I wasn't going to shoot during the season. I was trying to get it done, but the people we were working with were moving really, really slow. So we couldn't get the show done."
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