Ron Artest's birthday party raises money for charity, features a dancing David Arquette
Hundreds of Lakers fans along with a few celebrities showed up for Ron Artest’s birthday party Sunday night at the Conga Room at LA Live. R&B singer Faith Evans performed. Teammate Matt Barnes rolled through with his fiance. And fellow Laker Theo Ratliff showed up too.
There was also actor David Arquette -- garbed from head to toe in purple and gold, with diamond-encrusted sunglasses and matching grills on his top and bottom rows of teeth, and a sparkling Kobe Bryant jersey on under a purple robe embroidered with his last name and Kobe’s old number 8 on the back. Arquette wore the same attire to the game, which ended in a 121-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
But the setback didn't dampen the mood for those at the Conga Room, least of all Arquette, who greeted Artest in the VIP section but spent most of the night mingling with partygoers on the Conga Room balcony, speaking with fellow Lakers supporters and posing for photo after photo with people stunned that the actor was so uninhibited.
At one point, Arquette even took to the stage and danced, and kicked, to multiple songs, as shown in the video below.
Arquette, who has been separated from his wife, actress Courteney Cox, explained why he dressed up in his sparkling costume: “I went to the game in this outrageous garb because I had this in my closet for like, two years now. And I always thought, ‘Should I wear that? Nah.’ But it was Ron-Ron’s birthday. So I got ... ghettoed up.”
On Artest donating all the proceeds from his birthday party to the player's mental health charity group, Arquette said, “I love his spirit. That’s what I’m all about. I love what he’s representing tonight. You can’t take it with you. You can’t take it with you. That’s all that matters. You share the love. You share with people you care about, people less fortunate than you. He’s shown he’s committed, that’s why we’re compadres.”
Artest said he was pleased with the turnout and support from Arquette, his teammates and others who attended.
“Everybody came out to support. A lot of fans, a lot of friends,” Artest said. “We’re going to be able to help out people, so I’m really happy about the turnout.”
Artest also said his second birthday in Los Angeles, and his second as Laker, was rivaling last year’s birthday celebration.
“Last year’s birthday was pretty crazy,” he said. “This one’s pretty good. You know, um, it’s stackin’ right up.”
Artest even made a prediction for the Lakers’ regular-season record.
“80 and 2,” Artest said.
Artest’s birthday party was the first of three fundraising events hyping the raffling off of his 2009-10 season championship ring. All proceeds from the raffle and parties will be donated to his mental health organization, Xcel University.
The three parties –- all of which are taking place at the Conga Room -– have been dubbed "The Ring Series." The next party will be held Wednesday, Dec. 8, after the Lakers-Clippers game. The final event, in which Artest’s ring will be raffled off, will take place on Christmas Day after the Lakers take on the Miami Heat.
Numbers for how much money Artest’s birthday party raised were unavailable by Tuesday morning, but as of 9 p.m. on Sunday, about $415,999 had been raised with more than 16,600 raffle tickets sold.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles