Artest wins Citizenship Award
Lakers Ron Artest won the Walter J. Kennedy Citizenship Award, Tuesday, for his outstanding service and dedication to the community. The award is presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, and is named after the former NBA commissioner. Read the excerpt, courtesy foxsports:
”There’s been ups and downs, a real roller-coaster ride, but this is one of the times you look back and say it was all worth it,” Artest said before the Lakers’ pivotal Game 5 in their first-round playoff series against New Orleans. ”Everything I’ve been through has made me who I am today.”
Artest won the award for a year of tireless work in promoting mental health awareness, a quest that first gained attention when he thanked his psychiatrist immediately after the Lakers won Game 7 of the NBA finals last June. Artest credited therapy for his ability to help the Lakers through a grueling playoff run, and he hoped to spread acceptance of mental health treatment.
Since then, Artest has testified before Congress to support the Mental Health in Schools Act, spearheaded multiple fundraising efforts and raised awareness with constant public comments seeking to normalize treatment. He even raffled off his Lakers championship ring for the cause, raising more than $650,000 for several charities on Christmas.
”We didn’t know it would help me get an award,” said Artest, who has worked with several advocacy groups and activists. ”We just thought it was important to do the work on mental health awareness.”