Sep 21, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT
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.
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