Ron Artest is crazy. There is no arguing that fact. He's fought fans, shaved his record label into his head, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel in just boxers, and probably thousands of more strange things nobody else knows about. But he is also a very good man when it comes to giving to charity.
ESPN reported yesterday that Artest is going to give a large chunk of this season's salary to charities that benefit mental health awareness. He is already auctioning off his championship ring, which ESPN reported is currently going for more than $460,000.
|And he's a dog lover.|
I'm a sucker for stories like this. Here is a guy whose reputation of being a nutcase has overshadowed his good work. Yeah, he charged into the stands in Detroit and tried to kill a few guys, but wouldn't you if someone threw a beer on you? But the money he raises for good causes is 100 times more worthy of attention than his loony on-court antics.
Mental health is a issue near and dear to Artest's heart. In a Rick Reilly column he described how he desperately needed a counselor in school when he was growing up. So now he raises money to get more counselors in schools and help troubled youth.
It's a great deed that deserves more attention. If this were a LeBron's or Kobe's caliber, it would be the top story on any major sports outlet. Instead, Artest was on ESPN.com's front page for a day and then gone.
It's time to forget about the brawl and recognize how far Artest has come in the past fews years. He's still one the craziest individuals in pro sports, but he's also one of the most charitable. Who would have thought Artest could be somewhat of a role model?
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