Seriously? Ron Artest? The same dude who was responsible for Malice at the Palace?
It was announced on Monday that Artest would be the recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. This award is named in honor of the NBA’s second commissioner and is given to an NBA player or coach who demonstrates exemplary service and dedication to the community.
I never saw this coming. I never thought commissioner David Stern and the NBA would ever forgive Artest for the damage he caused to the NBA’s image by starting a mosh pit-like brawl between NBA players and fans during a 2004 Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons game.
However, Artest has since heavily dedicated himself to awareness of mental health, even raffling his 2010 NBA Championship Ring which raised over $650,000 for mental health support. He is very involved in the Los Angeles community and his efforts aren’t limited to fundraising. Artest actually appeared before Congress last year to support mental health awareness in the Schools Act. I’m very proud of Ron Artest, and the Los Angeles community should be honored to have Artest in the Lakers purple and gold.