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Most NBA Champions would want to keep their championship ring, but Los Angeles Lakers’ star Ron Artest has given away his ring in efforts to bring attention to mental health awareness.

Artest, who is well known as one of the leagues wackiest characters, came up with the idea to give away – via a charity raffle – his first NBA title ring after putting a spotlight on mental health by thanking his psychiatrist after Game 7 of the Lakers’ victory over Boston last June. Most laughed at the apparent ‘stunt’ which has snowballed into an increased interest in normalizing mental health care and garnered over $500,000 for Artest’s cause.

The “Ring” will be presented to the winner in a couple of weeks, but Artest isn’t regretful. He is excited to aim for another ring and raise more awareness, “I’m glad we can start over now and do some more work with charities,” he said.

The Lakers’ rings from the franchise’s 16th championship contain a piece of the ball used in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics. The ring also has a circumference of 16 oversized white diamonds representing the Lakers’ titles, along with two championship trophies made of 16-karat gold. On one side of the ring is a three-dimensional likeness of the player receiving it.

To date, Artest’s raffle has raised well over $500,000 for his Xcel University charity, which will work with high-risk youth on mental health issues.

Additionally, Artest recently said he would like to donate a huge portion of his $6.79 million salary for next season to mental health charities.

To learn more about Ron Artest and his incredible charity work, this interview from 2007 sums it up best.

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