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Ron Artest launches raffle for championship ring on 'Larry King Live'

October 28, 2010 |  8:00 am

Ron Artest's website apparently drew so many visitors looking to buy raffle tickets for his 2010 championship ring that it crashed.

"We understand we've nearly crashed RonArtest.com," CNN host Larry King said to Artest, who appeared Wednesday on King's show. "So we're going to give you an alternate site. You can go to NetRaffle.org. That's NetRaffle.org. So we've crashed your site. ... We have destroyed your site. The site is exploding."

Replied Ron Ron: "Nobody destroys Ron Artest."

Someone is likely creating a T-shirt with that slogan in Artest's honor. It would make a great Christmas gift -- it could be Artest's trash-talking slogan for the Lakers' game with the Miami Heat that day. That game might include an interesting matchup between Artest and LeBron James, considering the Lakers' lock-down defender refused to rank James. Christmas Day is also the day Artest will determine the raffle winner. Beyond getting to wear Artest's ring, the winner receives some sweet prizes, including two seats to a Lakers game, a two-night stay at the Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills and more.

Artest stressed that the importance of the contest, which requires fans to purchase a minimum of five raffle tickets for $2 each through Artest's website, goes beyond who wins the Laker hardware.

"It's not about the money or how much money I can raise," Artest told King. "It's more about the message."

As Laker fans will recall, following a heroic performance in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, Artest thanked his psychologist in a post-game interview and has since used his increased celebrity to talk about mental-health issues. Since then, he's been given the keys to the city of Las Vegas, had meetings with former President Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and spoken to students at Eastmont Intermediate School in Montabello about his own struggles growing up.

As Artest told King: "I had my first baby when I was 16 with my wife. We have been together for 17 years, since I was 14 years old. But I was transitioning, trying to become a father, NBA player. All this stuff is going, you know, through my mind. So any little thing that I didn't address at that time, I will hold it all in, hold it all in. Sometimes it would lead to experimenting with things that I should not experiment with, drinking a little bit too much alcohol, and trying to be an athlete, a world-class athlete, and drinking alcohol beverages and things like that. It just doesn't mix."

It's been a long road since then, and Artest was more than willing to share that journey with CNN's Thelma Gutierrez. In the video below, the two watched portions of Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals and traveled back to that dark moment six years ago where Artest drew a 73-game suspension for his involvement with the Malice at the Palace.

"As a kid, I had a bad temper," Artest told Gutierrez. "As an adult, I was a bad father, and I had to speak to somebody about that. ... Having someone to talk to is very important. And there's no shame in asking for help."

--Mark Medina
twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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