It must be exciting to be Ron Artest. His days are spent tooling around town in a miniature sports car, while his nights are filled with either basketball games or marathon sessions in the recording studio. Plus, everybody hangs on every single word he says as they are hoping for some hilarious quip that can be talked about over and over. It’s quite the life, and a bit like those “The Most Interesting Man in the World” ads.
And it apparently keeps getting better and better as Ron-Ron has been given the key to Las Vegas.
The small forward will receive the key to the city in recognition of his work with Xcel University, and efforts to raise awareness about mental health issues. The ceremony, which will include the official naming of Oct. 12 as “Ron Artest Day,” will be conducted by Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Wolfson Tuesday night at the Mirage Hotel.
“I’ve been doing a lot of charity things, and I think they kind of like it,” explained a clearly humbled Artest at Tuesday’s practice in El Segundo. “I was totally surprised. I heard something about it a couple of months ago and I was trying to give it to [Derek Fisher]. Fish could take my place or Kobe [Bryant] or somebody.
“That’s what comes with winning and doing good things and being a Laker.”
Ron Artest and Las Vegas — what could go wrong? (Probably nothing since he doesn’t drink or smoke anymore, and also because I don’t really think that those keys open anything.)
But really, this is yet another good thing to happen for Artest. Between his getting the word out to kids about the benefits of getting psychiatric help to his declaration that he’d auction off his championship ring before he even wears it, Artest has been using his rapidly increasing fame in some pretty cool ways while still being Ron Artest. He did party in his uniform for a full day after the title, after all. It’s kind of awesome to see how much people are embracing him, considering he punched fans in the face just six years ago.
Of course, even if those keys are just decorative, it might be a good idea to avoid Sin City until the NBA season starts. On the off chance that Ron’s key opens every door in Las Vegas, you don’t want to end up being the guy who had to share a bed with Ron Artest after he spent all night at a $1.99 all-you-can-eat prime rib dinner.