Ron Artest Raffles Off Ring, Finally Seems Completely Sane

In what seems to have been one of the wisest moves of the 2009 offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers signed perennial craziest guy in sports candidate Ron Artest, and now the captain of crazy has raffled off his championship ring.

Rather than throwing money at the young, up-and-coming Trevor Ariza, the Lakers filled a much-needed defensive hole with a former defensive player of the year—and head case.

People called this move ridiculous. There's no way signing a crazy guy to fill in for a budding All-Star would help the team win another title, but it did.

Ron Artest was one of the most important pieces in the Lakers' playoff run last season, playing stellar defense and hitting one of the most clutch threes in the Finals. He was one of the best players in Game 7, as Kobe Bryant was busy shooting 6-of-24.

Bryant may have gotten the team there, but Artest won that final game for them with his cool head (if you would have gone back to tell me the day after the Malice at the Palace that Artest would end up being described as cool-headed in anything, I'd smack you) and bothersome defense.

After the game, he made YouTube history with an interview in which he thanked "everyone in my hood" and "my psychiatrist."

Yep, makes sense.

From that point on, I completely understood how the Artest turnaround worked. There were far fewer moments in 2009 that made me think, "Yeah, I can see that this guy beat up some dude that he thought threw a beer at him." He looked more balanced and levelheaded.

After the finals, Ron Artest made a promise that he would raffle off his championship ring in order to raise awareness and funds to help young people with mental health issues.

Well, Artest made good on that promise yesterday, as the ring was finally raffled off after much publicity and coverage. What I am really curious of is if the Lakers had people going around in the stands sellin...

About the Author