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Ron Artest to donate money earned on 'Dancing With the Stars' to cancer research

August 29, 2011 | 11:28 pm

Ron Artest Concerns over his poor dance moves and mobility quickly evaporated for Ron Artest as soon as he talked with his 8-year-old daughter Diamond.

She's the only one who the Lakers forward said could convince him to appear on "Dancing With the Stars."

"She said, 'Daddy, you can do it,' " Artest recalled Monday in a phone interview. "It's going to be fun."

It wasn't just a case of Artest being unable to say no to his daughter. At age 4 in 2007, Diamond was diagnosed with wilms tumor, Artest said, a kidney cancer that affects children. So in honor of his daughter successfully fighting the illness, Artest said he plans to donate the money he earns on "Dancing with the Stars" to the Cancer Research Foundation.

That will include the $125,000 Artest said he's making for appearing on the show beginning Sept. 19 and any additional money he earns should he advance in each round.

"That's the only reason I'm doing it," Artest said. "I'm doing it for a cause."

Artest's decision to join the show deviates from comments he made last season and this off-season. In March, Artest said he'd want to lose in the first round because "I don't want to put my hips in a situation where I'm looking like Rick Fox." Only a month ago after a stand-up comedy appearance, Artest said, "I play defense. I don't know if I dance." And late Sunday evening his publicist, Courtney Barnes, appeared amused in a series of text messages when asked whether Artest would join the show. Said Barnes: "He can't dance."

That's why Artest said he and his unnamed partner have begun taking lessons and he plans to consult boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who lasted four rounds in 2007 during the show's fifth season.

"I'm doing the Cha-cha my first week," Artest said.  "We're going to get past [the first round]. I want to work hard and see where it takes me. I don't know how far I'm going to go, but I'm going to try."


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--Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest tries to drive past Sacramento's Donte Greene in the Lakers' regular-season finale on April 13. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images