Ron Artest: The Humanitarian

Since the day he gave credit to Dr. Santhi Periasamy, the woman who has helped him so much over the past few years (and gave the best post game interview in sports history), Artest has become more than just a basketball player, he has become a humanitarian – stressing the importance of talking to someone if you think that you need help and not being afraid to ask for it.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest jumps into the arms of team-mate Kobe Bryant after scoring the game-winning basket against the Phoenix Suns with less than 1 second on the clock during Game 5 of their NBA Western Conference final playoffs in Los Angeles May 27, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

In mid-September, Artest made an appearance at Eastmont Intermediate School in Montebello, Calif. to promote federal legislation HR 2531, the Mental Health in Schools Act, and teach kids the importance of mental health, and to not shy away from getting assistance if they need it. Based on his prior antics and assumed craziness, he wouldn’t seem like the perfect candidate for this job; however, that is truly false, as Artest is someone we can all look up too, as very few people are able to admit they need help and make it a priority to find it – and Artest did.

Continuing to spread awareness regarding mental health, Artest has decided to auction off his championship ring, his first, with proceeds going to raise money for mental health counseling in schools.

In a lifestyle where any form of imperfection is blown up in the media, most people would have a difficult time confidently speaking of mental health issues in a public setting. However, as we all know, Ron Artest is not a normal human being; and now, Ron Artest is not just “that guy” who got a ticket while driving a formula one race car on side streets. He is “that guy” who is making a genuine difference in the world. Not with his stifling defense or unparalleled toughness, but with his heart and his experiences.

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