Reporting from Phoenix — Ron Artest considered doing something goofy and decided against it.
No boxer shorts. No fake beards. No nonsense.
He played it straight on "Larry King Live," unlike his other appearances on nighttime talk shows. He did the right thing, it turned out.
The Lakers forward said his website attracted 1.7 million page views during his time on Larry King's show Wednesday to promote the fact he was raffling off his championship ring to benefit mental health.
In fact, Artest had too many visitors to the website, ronartest.com. It crashed temporarily.
"What he did for me was unbelievable," Artest said Friday. "The fans too, but what he did was unbelievable. He just boosted it up."
Artest said $120,000 was raised the day he went on King's show. He plans on raising enough money before the raffle's deadline (Dec. 25) to pay partial salaries of mental-health specialists in big cities throughout the U.S., including Detroit, Cleveland and Los Angeles.
"Hopefully, I can get to where I want to get, about $2 million," he said. "It's about trying to get ahold of every city we can touch, in schools and in community centers."
The appearance wasn't without its share of comedy after King announced publicly that Artest's site had crashed because of the extra attention.
"We have destroyed your site," King said.
Artest replied quickly.
"Nobody destroys Ron Artest," he said.
Raffle tickets are $2 each, with a minimum of five purchased. In addition to the ring, the winner receives two tickets to a Lakers game, a two-night stay at a luxury Beverly Hills hotel, round-trip airfare from any airport in the world ($2,000 maximum), a $1,000 spending allowance and a $13,007 payment directly to the IRS to offset the tax liability from winning the raffle.
Players have definitely adjusted their attitudes in reaction to the NBA's decision to call more technical fouls when players complain on the court.
"When we watch tape, the players are all laughing at the genuflections that the other players are doing when they get a look from a referee like 'I'm going to 'T' you up,'" Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "They start bowing and genuflecting right away. It's had its effect."