Winning an NBA championship ring might be the ultimate for any player. For Ron Artest, it's the means to an end.
Artest will soon announce plans to auction his 2010 Lakers title ring to the highest bidder. He's not pocketing the cash and buying a new Porsche. Proceeds will benefit mental health programs in public schools.
Once the league's ultimate poster boy for thuggery, Artest says counseling has helped him change for the better. He's now become a bit of a goofy fan favorite. He believes he can help school kids get a better start than he had by putting the auction proceeds into programs that put more psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists in schools.
"You work so hard to get a ring, and now you have a chance to help more people than just yourself, instead of just satisfying yourself," he said. "What's better than that? For me, this is very important."
The Lakers will get their NBA championship rings in a pre-game ceremony October 26, but Artest says the buyer of the ring will get it fresh out of the box.
"I won't even put it on," he said.
Scott Howard Cooper has more of the Artest story at NBA.com.