Tag: Mental Health

Artest Bird

Artest still regrets “bailing out” on Pacers


Ron Artest was once the most infamous player in the NBA. Now he’s a world champion, a fan and media favorite, and a philanthropist. However, none of the good things that Artest has done on and off the court in the last few years have made him feel any better about how things ended for him in Indiana. Bob Kravitz of the Indiana Star has the story:

Even as he continues to bask in the glory of his first NBA championship, Artest lives with deep remorse over how it all came down in Indiana.

“A coward, I was a coward,” Artest said before Wednesday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Pacers. “When you do coward stuff, you feel like a coward. I don’t care if it was done intentionally or by mistake, you’re still a coward. I don’t care how young I was. That’s not an excuse.”

Artest admits that his mental health issues were a major cause of the problems he had in Indiana, and is trying to help other people, especially kids, get the kind of help he needed to fix his problems:

What Artest wants is for kids, troubled kids, to have the same access to necessary therapy he has been blessed to receive.

“It’s cost me $75,000 to fix my problems,” he said with a laugh. “How many people have 75 grand? I want more therapists and counselors in the schools. I want people, especially our kids, to get the help they need, and to be properly diagnosed by professionals.”

It’s great that Artest has gotten to such a good place, both personally and professionally. It’s just a bummer for Indiana fans that Artest had to go through rough times with the Pacers before getting his life together while playing for other teams.

Ron Artest says he’ll donate half his salary to mental health awareness


When Ron Artest commits, when he believes in something, he never goes in halfway. Whether it was partying in his younger days to his more mature commitment to the Lakers last season, Artest doesn’t hold back. He goes all in.

Now his passion is getting out the word about mental health awareness. Counseling has changed his life, he wants others to know it’s okay to seek help, to reduce the stigma.

And he is putting his money where his mouth is, donating at least half of his salary next season to the cause, he told NBA.com’s Scott Howard Cooper. He is set to make $6.8 million, by the way.

“I’m definitely considering the whole thing,” Artest said. “Or maybe 60 percent.”

Although he may not finalize details until the summer, he called the plan “very serious. I’ve talked to my wife about it already. It’s a powerful message. The message is about the inspiration. That’s what I want, to inspire people. People will be like, ‘Wow. Why is he doing this? Oh, that’s why. Wow. We need to help educate.’ I didn’t come [to the Lakers] for the money. Obviously I could have gone somewhere else, even a lesser market. Pay less taxes. The taxes here are freaking killing me, you know what I’m saying?”

Well, this would certainly be a nice write off, but that’s not why he is doing it.

This would be in addition to the raffle of his championship ring he earned last season, with the money again going to the same cause. A cause heightened by his high-profile gestures.

Ron Artest to sell his championship ring to raise money for mental health awareness


Thumbnail image for artestwins.jpgRon Artest does not do things half way. Not on the court — if he is after you defensively he is Pit Bull relentless. Not off the court, which the many tales of his youthful imbibing can attest to.

And not with charity work.

We told you recently Artest was appearing with congresswoman Grace F. Napolitanoto to promote her Mental Health in Schools Act Well that was not just lip service, and he is not just putting his money where his mouth is.

He is putting his championship ring there.

Artest will set up a specialized auction where he will give his ring to the winner. Artest will never wear it, there will be a ceremony the night he gets his ring and he will turn it over to the high bidder, as he told Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com.

“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,” he said. “What’s better than that? For me, this is very important…”

“For five years, I’ve been wanting to do this psychology-type of assistance, but I never had an outlet where I could make a big impact, as far as where the most people could see it. It was always like maybe 10 or 20 people seeing what we were doing. The idea came from when I was in Sacramento. I had marriage counseling. I also had anger management. It just made me think that counseling is not something generic. …

As we said before, it may make an easy joke but this is a great cause for Artest. Remember he thanked his psychologist from the podium after Game 7, and therapy seemed to help him come to terms with his demons. He is more mature now (well, except when cited for driving around lately).

People will listen. Maybe somebody who saw a stigma with therapy will seek some help they need. Maybe the money raised will help bring therapy to a school and to a child that otherwise would not have had that outlet.

Not many people would make the level of sacrifice that Artest is willing to. But that’s Artest, when he believes in something he is all in.

Ron Artest to talk to children about mental health (yes, we're serious)


Thumbnail image for rartest_postgame.jpgRon Artest, mental health spokesman.

It’s true. From our friends at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune comes the news that Artest has teamed with Congresswoman Grace Napolitano to raise awareness of mental health and mental health programs for youth. He’ll be speaking at a school in Montebello (a suburban area of Los Angeles).

As always when a politician is involved, there is a political motive. Napolitano is the sponsor of the Mental Health Act in Schools of 2009 bill (HR 2531, if you feel the need to look it up) which is designed to provide wider mental health programs for schools and youth. The bill is currently in committee.

We can all jump on the “Artest and mental health?” jokes if we want, but really this is a pretty good fit. Artest is a pretty good example of how psychiatry can help people — remember Artest thanked his psychiatrist in his post-championship press conference. And with all the pressure in that game, he may have been the best player on the court for most of it, dealing with the pressure well.

Artest is a lot of things, but he is also very self-aware. Far more than most NBA players, it seems. He knows who he is. He can be immature at times, but he is now far more mature than he was even five years ago. And he accepts who he is.

And Artest is just flat out honest. With himself, with others. Children can relate to that. So if anyone can talk to kids about screwing up and figuring it out later, it’s Artest.

Still, another story we did not expect to see today.