Washington (CNN) - NBA basketball player Ron Artest came to Washington Thursday to help raise awareness for mental health initiatives and to discuss the issue with members of Congress.
Mr. Artest participated in a panel that featured mental health advocates and Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-California. The congresswoman introduced the Mental Health in Schools Act, which would provide funding to public schools to have a mental health services on-site.
The NBA star discussed his experience with receiving mental health services during the panel discussion.
"I've personally experienced the benefits and transformation a person can have, just by having access to qualified mental health professionals," Artest said according to a press release from Napolitano's office.
In an interview with CNN, Artest spoke of his long history with counseling saying he received his first counseling session as a 13 year-old and continued it through high school, college, and now as an NBA player.
Last season Artest won an NBA championship with his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and decided to raffle off his NBA championship ring to raise funds for mental health issues. The raffle raised over $650,000 for various mental health charities. Artest has also personally donated funds to mental health organizations.
Asked if he misses the ring he said, "No, it's going to a good cause so I don't really miss it."
Despite his work with the worthy cause, Artest may be best know for his 2004 73-game suspension when he got into a fight with basketball fans during his time as an Indianapolis Pacers player.
–CNN's Saundra Young contributed to this report
good job ron.
Hmm, he's one to be on this panel. Are we supposed to borrow more money from China to fund this act? Let me guess, California is broke so they don't have to contribute any money towards it. With all that drug abuse in California of course they need mental health services on-site at schools.
You never hear Sarah Palin addressing mental illness because she choses to ignore facts and distorts the truth.
"I've personally experienced the benefits and transformation a person can have, just by having access to qualified mental health professionals," said Artest. It would be great if this mental health awareness could help Palin,Bachmann, Boehner, Newt, Rush, O Donnell, Angle,Trump get into therapy as it would be a great thing to do for their country.
All we need is another crazy in DC. Maybe Obummie will play basketball with him.