Ron Artest Given NBA's Citizenship Award

Ron Artest hasn't had the most squeaky clean reputation during the entirety of his entire NBA career, but since he's come to the Los Angeles Lakers, the forward has done numerous things that show his outstanding service and dedication to the community. Those two qualities have not went unnoticed, either, as today Artest was named the 2010-11 recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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According to the press release, Artest won for his tireless efforts to promote awareness of mental health, including fund-raising, appearing before Congress in support of Mental Health in Schools Act and his all-around advocacy on the issue. The release also mentions the fact that Artest auctioned off his 2010 NBA Championship ring with the proceeds -- more than $650,000 -- going to mental health awareness.

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"Ron has such a passion for the issue, and has demonstrated such leadership he was a perfect choice for such a prestigious award," Doug Smith of the Toronto Star and president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association said in the release. "His work embodies the kind of dedication to important causes that NBA players have become known for."

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The other finalists for the award were the Portland Trail Blazers' Marcus Camby, Kyle Korver of the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

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Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register will present Artest with the trophy just before tip-off of Game 5 of the Hornets-Lakers playoff series Tuesday night at the Staples Center.

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