by Micah Hart
Usually when you hear a story about Ron Artest and the city of Las Vegas, you expect it to end with the overused expression, “Well, what happens in Vegas…”
Not this time around. Yesterday was the first Ron Artest Day in the City of Sin, which honored the Lakers’ star for his charitable efforts and gave him a key to the city.
He accepted in a ceremony Tuesday night at the Mirage Hotel, and in typical Artest fashion, had this to say about his newest prized possession:
“I’ll probably walk into everybody’s homes. I’ll go to Floyd Mayweather‘s house first. Put on some of his jewelry.”
You know what? At this point, Vegas residents would probably welcome him with open arms. It’s been that kind of turnaround for Artest, whose reputation in five years has gone from pariah of the league to, basically, Kramer from “Seinfeld.”
It’s a well-deserved honor, too. Even at his craziest, Artest has always been someone to give back to his community. In this case, he was being honored for his work with XCel University, a program of his that works with high-risk teens, and for doing a lot to promote mental-health awareness. (He is an advocate for the Mental Health in Schools Act, an initiative being put before Congress to provide $200 million for schools to help students with mental-health issues.)
Someday, someone is going to make one heck of a biopic about his life.