Artest, an All-Star with the Pacers in 2003-04, will be putting his expensive bauble up for bids to raise money for mental health counseling in schools _ something he received for a few months at age 13 before the funding for that program dried up. He’s already turned down flat offers ranging from $50,000 and $100,000 for the ring.
Artest, whose checkered NBA career included a brawl with fans during a game at Detroit, scored 20 points in the clinching game against the Celtics _ including a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute of the 83-79 victory at Staples Center.
“I’m really happy for him,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. “He’s been through a heck of a lot the last few years and he’s had to keep some discipline in him. And coming in here with the world champs, he was able to fit in and get a ring. I always felt he was going to do just fine once he fit in and everything. Number one, Ron respected the guys on the Laker team, especially Kobe and Gasol, and he was going to do whatever it took for that team to win.”
The Lakers eventually will get rings to four players no longer in purple and gold _ Jordan Farmar (New Jersey), Josh Powell (Atlanta), D.J. Mbenga (New Orleans) and Adam Morrison (waived by Washington).