'True Warier' Ron Artest Gets Keys to Sin City

Star Laker Player Honored for work with his nonprofit, Xcel University, and his support of The Mental Health in Schools Act

Oct 12, 2010, 15:40 ET from Ron Artest

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Professional basketball player Ron Artest will be honored by Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Wolfson on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 for his work with Xcel University by being given the keys to the city and having this day in history officially named Ron Artest Day.  Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and developers Michael J. Bellon & Jackie Robinson will also be on hand, joined by his Lakers teammates, family, friends, fans, and Las Vegas community supporters.  The event will be held from 4pm6pm at the Mirage Hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

Xcel University is a program established by Ron Artest that works with community centers and schools to identify high-risk students and give these students an incentive to live a positive, healthy lifestyle.  Xcel University aims to instill self-respect and self-esteem and will reward those kids who are trying to lead a productive life free of drugs and gangs, and are instead focused on doing well in school and volunteering within their communities. 

Artest's willingness and openness to publicly discuss how he has benefited from talk therapy – including the acknowledgement of his psychologist, Dr. Santhi Periasamy, on national television after Game 7 in the 2010 NBA Finals - has opened the gates a little wider for two of Artest's projects, Xcel University and his support of The Mental Health in Schools Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (District 38, CA).  The Mental Health in Schools Act will be reintroduced into Congress in February during the 2011 legislative session and would provide $200 million in grant funding to schools nationwide to hire on-site mental health professionals to work with students suffering from mental health issues.

Artest gained a reputation as one of the league's premier defenders as he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004.  Artest agrees that just as there are a regiment of physical fundamentals with kids in schools, many therapists believe that mental health fundamentals can be taught as well.  Ron Artest has showed that real strength and power is having the knowledge and wisdom when and where to use it.  Whether the battlefield is on a basketball court or in the community Ron Artest is the consummate True Warier.  

SOURCE Ron Artest