Ron Artest: NBA Champion, Mental Health Advocate
Ron Artest endured 11 seasons, played on six teams and took part in a host of bizarre incidents on his quest for an NBA title. The controversial Los Angeles Lakers power forward finally closed the book on his goal this past season.
The newly-crowned NBA champion simultaneously acquired a new designation: mental health advocate. During a live on-court interview amidst the celebration following Game 7, the always unpredictable Artest thanked his psychiatrist. "She really helped me relax" he said.
Now, in a new article on espn.com, Artest reveals the nature of his counseling sessions. Last month, the 2003-04 Defensive Player of the Year spoke with middle-school students in East Los Angeles about the importance of seeking help to deal with troubled situations. The bottom line, he said, is to not be afraid to ask for help.
"There were things I could not handle, and I needed help," Artest said. He credits the therapy sessions for helping him to relax, ignore distractions, and even set goals.
Before long, Artest was speaking with his psychiatrist before road games. "I spilled my guts to her," he says in the article. She even joined him during his appearance at the middle school, where he told students about the trouble he faced and how he wasn't afraid to seek help.
"If you need help, talk to someone, find anyone," he advised. "It's important."