Ron Artest was named the winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his “outstanding service and dedication to the community.” Artest won for his “tireless” efforts to promote awareness of mental health, including fund-raising, appearing before Congress in support of the Mental Health in Schools Act and his “all-around advocacy on the issue.” In addition, Artest raised more than $650,000 when he raffled off his championship ring in support of mental health awareness. He also filmed a public service announcement in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health.
“Ron has such a passion for the issue, and has demonstrated such leadership he was a perfect choice for such a prestigious award,” said Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, the president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, whose members voted on the award. “His work embodies the kind of dedication to important causes that NBA players have become known for.”