Ron Artest up for citizenship award
LOS ANGELES -- Ron Artest has come a long way from the Palace at Auburn Hills.
The Los Angeles Lakers forward, who once endured the longest suspension in NBA history stemming from the Indiana Pacers-Detroit Pistons brawl in 2004, was nominated for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award, the Pro Basketball Writers Association announced Thursday.
The distinction is awarded to the player, coach or trainer who shows "outstanding service and dedication to the community."
Artest is being recognized for his work in raising awareness for mental health issues which included him raffling off his 2010 championship ring to amass more than $650,000 that was distributed to various mental health charities.
Artest is also a member of the Mental Health in Schools Act Task Force, working with Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (Calif.) to generate government support for the cause.
The award is voted on by the approximate 150 writers in the PBWA and will be presented to the winner sometime after the regular season is completed.
The J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award has been handed out annually since the 1974-75 NBA season and is named after Kennedy, the league's commissioner from 1963-75. Sacramento Kings center Samuel Dalembert received the award last season to recognize his efforts to provide relief to victims of the devastating earthquake in his native Haiti.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.