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

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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.