In a move that defines the complete transformation of Ron Artest the NBA has announced the Lakers forward as the recipient for this year’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award. Just six years after Artest’s infamous role in the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the volatile player has turned into a mental health advocate and a role model for children.
Artest’s quirky and often bizarre behavior has become famous in Los Angeles, and the fans have quickly accepted him as one of their own. Artest has participated in numerous philanthropic events this season, including raffling off his 2009-2010 NBA Finals ring and donating the proceeds to a mental health charity.
Artest’s methods of full disclosure may seem strange to some, but have allowed him to change his image and turn his life around. After admitting to drinking Hennessy during games as a member of the Chicago Bulls and to extra-marital affairs, Artest has become a great example of how one can turn their life around and start moving in a different direction.
Artest is the first Laker to win the award since Magic Johnson won in 1992 for his role in promoting AIDS awareness.