Ron Artest, everyone’s favorite crazy man, was one of four players nominated for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award. Go ahead and file this story under phrases you never imagined could have been true five years ago.
Yes, the same Ron Artest who was a big part of the Malice at the Palace, who bailed out on his teammates in Indiana to promote his rap album, and who used to drink liquor at halftime of games, is actually up for a good guy award. The crazy thing is Artest actually is a highly deserving nominee after changing his ways.
Ron Ron started seeing a psychiatrist who helped him overcome many mental issues, and he even shouted out his doctor after winning the finals. He’s become a citizen of the people, showing up at fraternity events and other community events. He frequently gives tickets away to fans and even treated a couple to front row seats to Game 1 of the Finals last year.
Perhaps nothing displays Artest’s kind heart, generous soul, and selfless nature than his decision to raffle off his championship ring — something for which he worked his whole life — to raise money for mental health charity. Most players would keep the memento to commemorate the landmark achievement, but Artest decided to use it as an opportunity to enhance other people’s lives.
Ron is a changed man and should win this award in a landslide. Outside of his occasional crazy relapses, he has been a model citizen from whom many players can learn.
Oh yeah, Dwight Howard, Kyle Korver, and Marcus Camby
will be the runners-up are the other nominees.