Artest visits neighborhood center
By Mike Wells
June 18, 2007
Former Indiana Pacer Ron Artest spent about an hour talking with children at a local neighborhood center this afternoon.
“It’s fun when you’re talking to the kids,” Artest said after walking around slapping hands with the 75 summer campers at Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center. “I wanted to get out and do something else this summer. I really enjoy doing it because it’s something I want to do after my career is over.”
Artest, who spent four seasons with the Pacers before being traded to Sacramento in January 2006, had his publicist call community centers in the area to see if they’d be interested in having the former All-Star forward speak. He’s trying to do the same thing in Sacramento, Chicago and his hometown of New York.
Artest’s spoke about the importance of education, family values and staying out of trouble. He was suspended in school every year from kindergarten to sixth grade and had to sit out the first 15 games his freshman year of high school because of poor grades. Artest held off all questions about basketball until the end.
“Outside of family and God, education is the most important thing,” he told the campers. “... I still make mistakes, but rather than put my head down, I try to get better the next day.”
Artest concluded the day by signing autographs.