When the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title last season for the second straight time, it was Ron Artest’s first … and also the first time he earn a championship ring. But, the outspoken Lakers foward is setting things up so he’ll be motivated again this upcoming NBA season, because he’s auctioning off that first ring he just won.
According to an ESPN report, Artest is auctioning his ring to raise money for mental health counseling in schools.
“I’m still searching for that first ring. I’m not going to have a ring, and I really do want a ring,” Artest said recently. “This one was on the house. The next one, I guess, you could say, is on me.”
During an interview after the Lakers clinched the title with a Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics in June, Artest thanked his psychiatrist for helping him relax during the playoffs. He said that he received counseling for a few months when he was 13, but that funding for the program dried up.
Now, he wants to help give back to a problem he dealt with as a youth.
“When I grew up, mental health was something that wasn’t talked about. People were scared to say they were seeing a psychologist and stuff like that,” Artest explained. “Even before the championship I was telling people I was seeing a psychiatrist. When we won the championship, it was on a much more larger scale — ‘Wow, he really said that.’
“I think it’ll be more important to give back to something I believe in, which is providing kids with someone to talk to because it’s so expensive,” he continued. “I pay for parenting counseling, marriage counseling and anger management, and it’s very expensive. This will be for children of all demographics, rich or poor — preferably the rich can pay for their own psychologists — but it’ll be a great way to help kids who don’t know where they’re going in their life at this point.”
According to ESPN, Artest will be be selling the ring to a private buyer. Instead, he wants to give fans the chance to win it, via a raffle auction with tickets selling for between $1 and $3.
Celebrities and investors have offered him between $50,000 and $100,000 for the ring, and he believes fans will far exceed that number.
“The fans are going to totally smash that number,” Artest said. “We’re going to help as much as that ring can do. I don’t know how long it will last, but I know it can help. You don’t really need the money. It starts in the household anyway. It starts with the dad and the mom and the family. Make sure the family is tight. As long as that’s good, I don’t think you’ll even need to see a psychologist, or you can keep it at a minimum. But nobody’s perfect. Every family’s not perfect. This is just a way I could help out, give back a little bit.”
At press time, when this auction would start was unknown. Stay tuned for details.