New York — Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers has been named the 2010-11 recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award is named for the second commissioner of the league and honors an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Artest won for his tireless efforts to promote awareness of mental health, including fundraising, appearing before Congress in support of Mental Health in Schools Act and his all-around advocacy on the issue. Artest also raffled off his 2010 championship ring, raising more than $650,000 for mental health awareness, and took part in a public service announcement in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
"Ron has such a passion for the issue, and has demonstrated such leadership he was a perfect choice for such a prestigious award," said Doug Smith of the Toronto Star and president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association. "His work embodies the kind of dedication to important causes that NBA players have become known for."
The PBWA represents approximately 150 writers for newspapers, magazines and Internet services who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Members nominate players and coaches and vote for the award. The finalists for the award this season were Artest, Marcus Camby of the Portland Trail Blazers, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and Kyle Korver of the Chicago Bulls.