You just knew it was about that time. Weeks, months of the NBA off-season had gone by without a Crazy Ron Artest happening, and that trend certainly couldn't last much longer. So here we are: Three or so months after he was made quite possibly the happiest man on the planet by winning his first-ever NBA championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers, the mercurial forward has decided that, eh, he could live without it after all. So Ron-Ron has decided to auction off the commemorative ring in raffle format (Artest, always a true man of the people) for charity.
The cause, appropriately enough? Mental health, to which Artest memorably attributed his success after winning Game 7 in Los Angeles. "When I grew up, mental health was something that wasn't talked about," says Artest. "Even before the championship I was telling people I was seeing a psychiatrist. When we won the championship, it was on a much more larger scale -- 'Wow, he really said that.'"
Of course, there's a bit of self-motivation to all this as well. Artest, so relentless in his pursuit of that first ring, wants to feel the same hunger going for the back-to-back--so why not make it the first time all over again? "I've got a lot to play for again this year," says Artest. "I'm going after my first ring." (Sort of.) A little cocky on Ron's part, and a certain supergroup in the southeast is probably scoffing at the idea of him banking on another title in the next half-decade or so, but you gotta respect the dedication just the same.
And just in case you didn't feel this sufficed for your Crazy Ron Artest fix, the rapper/fashion icon also took the opportunity to give a shoutout to his favorite ex-planet. "Pluto's not even a planet no more, which I'm very disturbed about," bemoans Artest. "I grew up when Pluto was a planet. Now, I'm 25, I turn around and Pluto's no longer a planet. I'm going to elbow that guy in the nose [...] We've got to see if we can get Pluto back." I feel you on that one, Ron--I couldn't believe that we were just giving Pluto the shaft either. Plus, it just doesn't make sense without knowing what My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine of.