Former NBA "bad boy" Ron Artest is making good with his recent activism in supporting mental health awareness, and his latest charitable move will make even the most skeptical critics praise the 31-year-old.
This past weekend, Artest announced the winner of a raffle for the NBA championship ring he won last season with the Lakers. More than $500,000 was raised for his Xcel University charity, which will work with high-risk youth on mental health issues. Money will go toward grassroots efforts in New York, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Detroit.
The winner was Raymond Mikkael, a father of four from Hawthorne, Calif.
"This was a good thing,'' Artest told reporters. "It got publicity, it raised money, and now we can start over. It gives me more energy and desire to go out and win another ring to do this all over again."
By all accounts, it appears that Artest's giving is only just getting started. He recently announced in early December that he would be donating "either all or some" of the $6.79 million he is slated to make from the Lakers next year. Like the ring, the cash will go towards helping those struggling with mental health issues.
"It's going to make an impact," he said. "It will snowball. It will have a domino effect later. It will have a domino effect real, real soon once people see exactly what's going on."