LA Lakers star to auction off diamond ring

Ron Artest aims to raise over $1 million from the sale of his championship ring to help youths who cannot afford to pay for mental health counselling.

LA Lakers basketball star Ron Artest is to auction off the diamond ring he received for winning the NBA championship last season.

Artest, who was given a lengthy ban after punching a fan during a brawl in 2004, aims to raise over $1 million (£632,000) for charity with the sale, CNN reports.

The Lakers were presented with their rings during a special ceremony at the Staples Center prior to the opening game of the season and Artest said at the event that it was a mental health professional who helped him turn his life around after he came in for widespread criticism following the incident, which occurred while he was playing for the Indiana Pacers.

He said proceeds from the sale of the diamond ring will go towards mental health services for youths who cannot afford to pay for counselling.

Each of the rings given to the LA Lakers players and coaching staff features 16 oversized round brilliant-white diamonds, to signify the 16 championships that have been won by the franchise.