As a Boston Celtics fan, the non-Clippers LA basketball team is the last hoops organization I want to see win a championship. But last night, at the hope-springs-eternal-start of this new season, I was reminded that there is one tiny, itty-bitty silver lining amidst the immense darkness that is the Staples Center: Ron Artest is one of the players who received a ring for said championship. A ring he is selling via raffle, to donate the proceeds to charity.
“I’m never going to put it on,” Artest remarked of his first and only championship ring.
After the horrific ending of Game 7 last year, Artest surprised fans by thanking his therapist. Then he visited a local middle school with the co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, Rep. Grace Napolitano, “to call for passage of federal legislation and encourage students to reach out to a health-care worker is they need.”
Tonight, on Larry King, he’s auctioning off his ring “as a fundraiser to put more psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in schools.”
Artest has been in the league for over a decade. He has played for five different teams. He received the league’s longest-ever suspension for his role in the infamous fan brawl in Auburn Hills, Michigan. He has not had the smoothest of careers. And finally, through all of that, he wins his first championship, his first ring, which is more than Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Lebron James have combined. And now he’s selling it for charity?
“You work so hard to get a ring, and now you have a chance to help more people than just yourself, instead of just satisfying yourself,” reasons Artest. “What’s better than that? For me, this is very important.”
Want to own his championship ring? Want to support mental health services in our schools? Got ten dollars? Then you can buy five raffle tickets, at $2 each. Or more, if you want. And your ticket could deliver Artest’s championship ring.
Crazy. But in a really good way.