Ron Artest Embraces His Mental Health, And So Should We

  • Barry Rothbard

Remember when Ron Artest thanked his psychiatrist after the Lakers won the NBA championship last spring? Well, it turns out she was actually his psychologist. And he wasn’t kidding.

In this piece done by “Outside The Lines,” ESPN examines Artest’s relationship with his shrink, Dr. Santhi Periasamy. It’s no secret that professional athletes have issues dealing with fame and the accompanying spotlight. The consequences are sometimes devastating. It’s also no secret that about 1/4 of people suffer from mental illnesses.

It’s already widely accepted that Ron Artest is not like most people. But it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s time to just accept–and maybe embrace–Artest for who he is.

Here are the highlights from both the interview and accompanying article:

  • “The only thing I knew about myself back then was, I knew I was ghetto, I knew I had a quick temper, and I knew I didn’t really care about what people thought.”
  • Artest has seen 8 different therapists
  • Artest says that the Palace Brawl “not have turned out differently” if he was seeing a therapist
  • Artest’s therapist said that “When he was here, we would meet each other in the evenings when my building was less populated or make sure I didn’t have clients in the waiting rooms.”
  • “I’m a clown, a goofball. I’m on the edge. I went on ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ in my boxers. I don’t want my son listening to somebody who’s on ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ in his boxers. I understand why they said that.” Until someone else credible can stand up, I gotta get up and talk about it.”
  • “I don’t mean being called a cucko-bird no more. I mean, I can be a cucko-bird, but at least, you know, I’m myself.”

Okay, so everyone has issues. Ron Artest’s fame and honesty bring his to the forefront. Artest confirms he can be a martian. But beneath all the madness there actually seems to be a genuine, dare I say, sensitive man.

Surely, if there were ever a player whose mind people could enter through a portal a la John Malkovich, Artest has to be up there among the most-coveted. And while he’s by no means the Second Coming, Artest has actually managed to go from a horrifying to inspiring.

He’s raffling his championship ring to help raise money for mental health awareness. And he currently sports a, well, friendlier image than Brett Favre and Tiger Woods. Because unlike some athletes, at least Artest is willing to talk about more than just sports.

As for his rapping skills? Well, he should see Dr. Carter.