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CNN Larry King Live

What's with Charlie Sheen?; Ron Artest Auctions Off His NBA Championship Ring to Raise Money For Mental Health

Aired October 27, 2010 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, what's with Charlie Sheen? According to reports, he was found naked, allegedly trashed a hotel room at The Plaza, while on probation for domestic violence.

TV's highest paid actor headed back to work. Should Hollywood finally turn its back on a bad boy?

And then, want an NBA championship ring? Los Angeles Lakers star Ron Artest is raffling off the ring he got last night. And he's here exclusively handing over the one of a kind gem. He'll tell us what his therapist has to do with it.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Ron Artest later. But first, New York police were called to the Plaza Hotel at approximately 1:30 Tuesday morning. They found a 45-year-old man there and took him into the hospital.

Police say no charges were pursued as he was classified as an emotionally disturbed person. A law enforcement official tells CNN the man was Charlie Sheen. There was also a woman in the room.

Joining us to talk about all this, Dr. Drew Pinsky. He's the host of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," and the author of "The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America."

Mark Geragos, a well-known defense attorney, who's represented many high-profile clients. Howard Bragman returns. He's celebrity crisis expert and founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relation. And Mike Fleeman, the West Coast editor of

We'll start with you, Mike. What's -- what does "People" saying?

MIKE FLEEMAN, WEST COAST EDITOR, PEOPLE.COM: Well, the latest is that Charlie doesn't seem to be suffering any ramifications of this. He's going to go back to work this week. He's doing a cameo in a movie. He's going to be back on the set of "Two and a Half Men" next week. Barely a hiccup.

KING: Do you know what happened? Does anyone know? FLEEMAN: There are conflicting reports. His publicist says that he had an allergic reaction to medication. A lot of people say that's not quite passing the smell test. Police sources are saying that he was intoxicated, irrational and trashing this hotel room.

Interestingly, he was not charged with a crime. He was not arrested. He was hospitalized and released.

KING: Do we know who called the police?

FLEEMAN: No, we don't. We do know that Denise Richards and his two daughters were very close by and that Denise actually went with him to the hospital.

KING: But there was supposed to be another woman in the room?

FLEEMAN: There are reports that there was another woman in the room. She has been variously identified as a porn star, as a prostitute, but we don't know exactly what went on.

KING: Dr. Pinsky, Sheen reportedly told "Radar Online" via text, I'm fine, the story is totally overblown and overplayed as far as the reality of the scenario. He also reportedly texted, I know what went down and that's all there is to say. And that's all he will say under wraps.

What do you make of this?

DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: You know, both -- a series of things. One is that this idea that it's an allergic reaction, that's sort of clear that up. An allergy means a rash and wheezing, and a history, immediate a reaction. It's not that.

Could it be some sort of untoward effect of psychotropic medications? Yes. People can have that sort of thing. But you've got to add the score. If you've got somebody with a history of addiction, who've been recently relapsed, who in my eye turned back to work far too prematurely, back when he'd had his original domestic violence issues.

And now once again is emerging with trouble and going right back to work. This is how my patients get into real serious trouble. If you remember when Robert Downey was struggling so much with his sobriety was because he kept going back to work as opposed to taking the time to focus on their condition.

And if somebody is being arrested by police and being called emotionally -- what is it, disturbed? Emotionally not right. That's somebody who needs to take a little time and really get their treatment.

KING: In this kind of circumstance, what can you conjecture the scenario to be, Mark? The hotel calls the police?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My guess is that it was the hotel. If he's trashing the hotel room, that's the only person who would care. KING: If he's trashing the room --


GERAGOS: If it's a female, a prostitute or a porn star, she doesn't care if he's trashing the room.

KING: Why aren't you charged if you trash --

GERAGOS: Because if you've got a credit card that pays for incidentals, it's like the old Joe Walsh song, you get to destroy it. When --


KING: You can destroy a room?

GERAGOS: You can destroy the hotel room as long as you pick up the tab. They don't care. Since they -- it's not -- unless they -- the only time you get into trouble is when you pull a Dennis Quaid and you don't pay the bill. Other than that, if you pay the bill, there's not -- there's not any kind of an effect.

KING: One might say, Howard, as a PR expert, Stan Rosenfield represents him. Another (INAUDIBLE) guy.


KING: Why is it our business?

BRAGMAN: You know what, it is our business.

KING: Why?

BRAGMAN: Because it's our business when he's on the number one comedy on television. He's the highest paid man on television. And the public gets to decide what they're interested in. Trust me, the public is interested in this.

The reason we're talking about this, the reason he's on the front of newspapers, is because it's getting eyeballs. It's selling newspapers. And we want to know. And celebrities -- I'm not saying they're role models. I'm not that naive. And I've been doing this a long time. But there is a certain responsibility with being in the public eye.

KING: All right. We mentioned his publicist is Stan Rosenfield. And he said in a statement, "What we are able to determine is that Charlie had an averse allergic reaction to some medication. Was taken to the hospital."

A later statement said, "Charlie Sheen has been discharged from a hospital in New York. Is returning to L.A. today. Everything else is speculation."

It is, isn't it? Mike? That's all we're doing here. FLEEMAN: Yes, it is speculation. We do know that he has this history. We do know that this is not the first time that something not just bad but sort of bizarre has happened to Charlie.

A late-night thing involving something like this is just sort of history repeating itself. And I think what people are asking is, what's going on here? Why doesn't he get better? Why does this just keep on going?

KING: The network, CBS, does not have a comment. Does that surprise you?

FLEEMAN: No, it doesn't. Look, "Two and a Half Men" --

GERAGOS: That's right.

FLEEMAN: They've been through this.

GERAGOS: As long as their ratings are up, they're going to have absolutely no comment.

FLEEMAN: You know, it's interesting that

KING: Classic network, right?

GERAGOS: Exactly. What do they care?


FLEEMAN: Charlie Sheen's contract --

GERAGOS: Increase ratings.

FLEEMAN: Charlie sheen's contract was up right around the time of the domestic violence case. And they were begging him to come back. They wanted him. He didn't even want to come back initially to "Two and a Half Men." But he reluctantly did so, and they gave him buckets full of money.

KING: Denise Richards who was on this program in the past was on "Joy Behar" last night. And she had this to say. Watch.


JOY BEHAR, HOST, "JOY BEHAR SHOW": The police arrived to find Charlie drunk and naked in his room. Tables and chairs were thrown around the room. $7,000 worth of damage to the room.


BEHAR: And he had been out partying and returned with a woman to the room. Those are the reports.


BEHAR: So you don't known exactly what happened. Did you go to the hospital with him?

RICHARDS: Um, I do know what happened. I would rather --

BEHAR: Oh, you do know. You just don't want to talk about it.

RICHARDS: I would rather --

BEHAR: OK, so I'm just telling you what I read.

RICHARDS: And I did help him at the hospital.

BEHAR: You did go to the hospital with him.


BEHAR: So how is he doing? Is that -- can you tell me that?

RICHARDS: I'll let you ask Charlie.

BEHAR: When is he coming on my show?

RICHARDS: Maybe we'll get him on tomorrow.

BEHAR: You think so?

RICHARDS: No, it's -- you know what, the thing is, it's very -- my daughters are 5 and 6 years old.


RICHARDS: At an age where they can start to understand. They have no idea what went on. And I'm -- a lot of our stuff happened when they were much younger, which I'm so grateful for.

We're in an amazing place. We've been getting along great for the last year and a half. And, you know, we're doing our best. So as far as that situation, I'm trying to protect the girls from it as much as possible.


KING: He has a great father, Drew. Wonderful man.

PINSKY: Listen, anyone --

KING: Martin Sheen.

PINSKY: Yes, listen, anyone that has ever met him, and I'm sure Denise feels the same, he -- everyone loves him. He is a great guy. And that's what makes this all so very, very sad and scary.

KING: So what's -- what --

PINSKY: What's the puzzle?

KING: Why does someone like this be -- is it alcohol? PINSKY: Well, if he was intoxicated with alcohol which Denise did not deny that when Joy brought that up, that -- with somebody with his addiction history that is very serious. That is no fooling. That is someone who is deeply in their condition. And they're going to have to take time and time out of their life.

It's the craziest thing, Larry. All my patients who are celebrities and working are drawn back to their work so prematurely. If they had cancer, they would take the three months necessary to do the treatment. But for some reason, we all want to think of addiction as --

GERAGOS: That's a really good point because it's --

PINSKY: It's an equally as life threatening.

GERAGOS: They want to get back -- it's equally life threatening. They never consider it in the same terms. I use that example all the time. I said if I'm the oncologist and I'm telling you, you can't go back to work, you'd listen to me.

PINSKY: Exactly.

GERAGOS: But because I'm your lawyer --


PINSKY: Or acknowledges it, they say, well, I got it under control.

KING: I'll take a break. And let me take the devil's advocate here and say, isn't it a good idea to go back to work? Is Hollywood an enabler? We'll try to answer that next.



JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": It must be tough to be Charlie Sheen's publicist. I mean, after the 19th time this happens, what do you say? What kind of a statement do you put out? Fortunately, we were able to find some video of how exactly it works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. No. This incident was not Charlie's fault. It was caused by -- hold on. An adverse reaction to medication. Thanks.


KING: That's funny. Howard, why not a good idea to go back to work?

BRAGMAN: Well, it's a good idea for people who are making money off Charlie Sheen. They all think it's a great idea. This is a billion- dollar franchise, this show. But it's not a good idea because he has a problem he has to resolve.

And I would say what happened this week is something that's going to go away. This isn't going to define him. It doesn't look like they'll really be criminal charges. But what's important to understand is, unless he fixes it, it's going to happen again.

KING: The story is, Mark, that your personal life, if it's terrible, is supposed to affect your professional life. It seems to work in reverse for Charlie Sheen.

GERAGOS: It absolutely seems to work in reverse.


KING: He can always hit someone else tomorrow.


KING: The show will be renewed for seven years.


GERAGOS: Draws a knife or does anything else, the ratings go up. It's --

KING: How do you explain that?

GERAGOS: Well, there is -- his character on the show is endearing. And people tend to confuse the character with the person. And they will give you a lot of flack -- a lot of slack as opposed to a lot of flack because of that.

In representing clients, I can always tell you, whatever the last character that they're identified with is going to be how the public reacts to whatever offense they're currently embroiled in.

BRAGMAN: But let me say, Larry, you get -- you do this once, it's like, oh, my god, look what happened to Charlie Sheen. After 28 times that it happened, it's just you roll your eyes and go, it's Charlie again.

KING: Does he sell magazines?

FLEEMAN: Probably not as many as you would imagine from the amount of coverage. He sells a lot of newspapers. And he probably gets a lot of viewers on the entertainment shows. I think his case is a difficult one for a weekly magazine. It's repetitive. It's kind of sad. There's not --

KING: He's not the cover on Friday?

FLEEMAN: No, he's not the cover.

KING: What do we know, Drew, about his rehab history? What's known?

PINSKY: Not a lot. It's been shrouded -- you know in secrecy as well it should be, but people have always talked about the fact that he had severe addiction, he got into recovery. His dad has spoken about his issues. And what's clear, what seems to be clear, is that he has had good treatment. He's been active in the program. And he knows what he needs to do. And that actually can be a liability for someone that relapses after long periods of sobriety because they know how to talk the talk. They know what they're supposed to do.

They say they're going to do it, but in fact because the reason they can't go back to work is, it is delicate work. It's experiential work. And it needs to be focused. And it can't be distracted by things like a television program.

KING: There's no arrest, Howard. What's the effect on reputation now?

BRAGMAN: You know, what's happening is, you said CBS didn't say anything. There's a lot of talking going on at CBS. CBS --

KING: They're not going to drop the show?

BRAGMAN: And they're talking -- they're talking to Charlie's reps. And --

KING: And saying?

BRAGMAN: And saying, you know what, we got a problem and we have to fix this and -- I can assure you there's plenty of meeting and there's plenty of things going on. We don't want to happen is, god forbid, Charlie kills himself or somebody else and we go, oh, my god, we should have done something.

KING: What can CBS do?

BRAGMAN: Right now, they can talk to his reps and they can say we have a problem. CBS is concerned with insurability of the show, of the show being able to go on. They can put a lot of pressure on him. This man make as a lot of money.

PINSKY: And what I would say, look, what if he were a student or just John Q employee somewhere? You'd say, hey, get a note from your doctor. I want you to get evaluated and before you can return safely to the workplace, we need to know that you're following the doctor's directions.

GERAGOS: Yes, which will never happen in this case because he's a money machine.

KING: Does he need a good lawyer?

GERAGOS: Well, I think he's had a good legal representation. He got -- he extricated himself out of the incident -- the last incident.

KING: But he's on probation in Aspen.


KING: Can this affect that? GERAGOS: Well, potentially, I suppose. I suppose, but I doubt it. There doesn't seem to be anything here other than -- I mean, the hospital takes him. He seems disturbed. There's no law. You can't tell somebody, put them up on probation and say, you shall not be disturbed. So I mean there's not much that they can do to him.


FLEEMAN: And I don't think anybody wants to carry this case forward.

GERAGOS: Right. Exactly.

FLEEMAN: The New York Police Department doesn't. The hotel doesn't. The alleged woman --

GERAGOS: If they had found him -- if they had found him in the street, they probably would have taken him to a hotel. So they find him in the hotel, they've got to take him into the street. So it's not the greatest situation for the police.

KING: What should Charlie be doing now? What's the best advice we can give him right after this.


KING: Ron Artest, the world champion Lakers, still to come.

We're with Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mark Geragos, Howard Bragman and Mike Fleeman. We're talking about Charlie Sheen.

He signed a new contract last summer to continue with the sitcom. He's on the top sitcom on television. What should he do?

PINSKY: He needs -- you know, it's funny, we've been -- I've been sitting here how many times, the three of us have sat here and talked about people who are suffering and who are really in danger and need to do something about it.

Charlie is one of these people. It would be get a team of people that understand and can assess him and do what they tell you to do. I suspect it will mean three months in a very intensive environment of some type.

KING: CBS going to put up with that?


FLEEMAN: They may not have a choice. I think what Charlie needs to do from a professional standpoint is exactly what he's doing. He's not trying to be anything other than what he is.

And I think one of the reasons why he's not suffering the same fate as perhaps some other entertainers and celebrities is he's the bad boy. He's doing the best he can. He doesn't try to preach something else. His image is not taking a hit because this is his image. PINSKY: I have to say, though, Mike, it's interesting to me that magazines and the press take such aim at the women with the same condition. I mean Charlie and Lindsay not that different.

FLEEMAN: Well, Mel Gibson may disagree with that.


FLEEMAN: You know.

PINSKY: But the fact is, you know, we really reserve a special sort of aggression for women that suffer from these conditions.

FLEEMAN: No, Lindsay Lohan --


FLEEMAN: She's half his age and she's a very tragic story and she's probably the most analogous to this. But yes, I think there is a double standard. But, again, Mel Gibson may beg to differ.

KING: His problem is violence, isn't it, Mark?

GERAGOS: It's the only time it becomes a problem. I mean I always say, look, if you drink, fine. As long as there isn't violence connected with it then what's the big deal? And you're not getting into a car. As long as you're not hurting anybody.

If you start to cross the line where you get violent, that's a real problem. And that's, you know, here at least, I don't know if that happened. If he trashed the room, you know, there's a difference between property crimes and crimes against people.

But if there's a person in there and if the kids are in the next room, then that's a -- that's something scary.

KING: Would a PR person let him come out like on a show, like this show or another show?


KING: Talk about his life?

FLEEMAN: There's absolutely --

PINSKY: Why not?


FLEEMAN: Are you kidding? Are you kidding? He'd be on the phone with me. I'd be on the phone. We've done this recently. We've done it within the last month and just said no way.

FLEEMAN: The thing is, he's already done it. I sat down with him for an hour right after -- amidst his divorce from Denise. And we had a long interview. And he said, look, I got problems, I'm doing the best I can. I'm trying to recover. And I'm trying to move. They've done that.

BRAGMAN: The public wants a catharsis. We haven't seen the catharsis. We're willing to forgive a lot of things. But we can't want it. We can't forgive him more than he's willing to -- be willing himself.

And we want to hear him say, I have a problem. And he says that by going to rehab. By taking some time off from the show. And yes, CBS is probably going to shoot me tomorrow. I'll get nasty e-mails from them.

But they have to save this man's life, number one, and the show will be fine. I'm not worried about CBS.

KING: So they can't say, it's none of our business?

PINSKY: Well, you know, that -- this is more your area. I mean, to what extent does an employer have a responsibility to bring somebody back in safe conditions before they allow them to return to work?

GERAGOS: I don't think that they're -- they've got much leverage in this case. And I don't know even if they did that they would use it because, as I said before, it's a money machine, number one. And they don't really -- as long as he shows up to work, as long as he's not missing work.

They've got real problems trying to get him to do anything. And I don't really think they've got the incentive to have him do anything other than to just get back here and stay out of trouble.

FLEEMAN: You know, what's remarkable to me, and I heard Dr. Drew talking about, you know, how is this guy going to survive? Is he going to survive this? We've been writing stories about Charlie for 20 years, you know. Has he finally hit rock bottom? You know, he just seems to keep bouncing along the bottom.

PINSKY: It gets more dangerous. It's a progressive condition. And it's a -- a potentially fatal condition. And --

KING: Fatal?

PINSKY: Addiction, for sure. And listen, and everyone loves this guy. Everyone. He's a great guy. This is a really sad story we're watching here. And so, you know, we all hope that somebody brings to bear what it is he does need to do. He doesn't seem to have that motivation yet.

BRAGMAN: The three of us have seen it. No. The people who partied in their 20s, if they're still partying in their 40s, they're really partying in their 40s, and the body is not as forgiving in the 40s as it is in the 20s.

PINSKY: It's a progressive disorder and it leads to jail, death or institutionalization. And by the way, back when we used to talk about the --

BRAGMAN: Or legal fees.



KING: And when we come back, where do we go from here? We'll be right back.


KING: We've been talking about addiction for so long.

Dr. Pinsky, are we ever going to have a -- are there studies being done in the pharmaceutical industry for a pill to cure it?

PINSKY: That is the great holy grail of addiction treatment. And as for every addict, they wish for that time, that something that can make --

KING: There is an alcohol pill, isn't there?

PINSKY: No. But --


PINSKY: I'm going to make a prediction that we'll never be able to turn an alcoholic into a normal drinker with a pill. It's just not likely to happen. But yes, there are -- there's tons of research being done on pharmaceutical interventions.

KING: Why is it so hard?

PINSKY: Well, I mean --

KING: Let's say to the non addict, why is it so hard?

PINSKY: Although there are literally -- you know, people spend their careers asking that question and institutions dedicated to it. Let me just say that probably because it's a multidimensional disorder with spiritual, emotional and biological components. And if you solve one, you still have some other things to deal with.

KING: So if you're an addictive personality, they may cure you in one area, they're going to get to another?

PINSKY: If you have that -- the question is can we prevent it from coming on? Which I do believe that may happen some day. But once it -- yes, once it comes on, once the biology is activated, it affects so --

KING: Is it a gene?

PINSKY: Well, there's several candidate genes and some of them look very -- as though they account for at least 60 percent of the disease.

KING: Is the law handling it well? Mark? GERAGOS: No. I -- I don't think so. I think it's one of the most frustrating areas of the law. You can go into the criminal courts building downtown and sit in any courtroom and 80 percent of the cases there revolve around addiction.

I mean, literally. Eighty percent. Whether it's a burglary, auto burglary or burglary or robbery, or anything. And then your standard possession with intent to sell. And you wonder, you sit to yourself, and say, OK, it's $12,000 a day for each courtroom and there's 300 courtrooms that are dedicated to this, and we're spending all of this money processing the same people, and recycling the same people. It's insanity.

KING: If it's usage, why not legalize?

GERAGOS: Well, I -- because that just scares the bejesus out of people. I mean, if you took -- first of all, if you took the profit motive out of this, you wouldn't have, you know, Mexico becoming a narco country --

KING: Innocent people --

GERAGOS: Right. I mean, it's a disaster down there because we are the demanders for their supply. And then our whole system is based upon kind of recycling these same people who if they just took one quarter of that money and channeled it over into doing what Drew does, you'd solve an incredible amount of this problem.

KING: You might be out of work.


BRAGMAN: I'm going to try and keep busy. But you know, I know my role here. Dr. Drew has to be number one in this equation, because you have to fix the core problem. Mark has to keep them free, keep them on streets. And then, only then, can I try and do my job.

KING: And what's "People's" role?


BRAGMAN: To inflame the situation.

FLEEMAN: To try to cover it accurately and compassionately and do the best we can. Look, I think there's hope here. And his name is Robert Downey Jr. I sat in court month after month. The man talking about putting the shotgun in his mouth and loving the taste of the metal when he was on the highway to hell. Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen, they're about the same age. They grew up in the same social circles. I think they might have even gone to the same high school.

Robert Downey Jr. is the biggest star in Hollywood right now. And all of it has been forgotten. There is hope for Charlie Sheen.

PINSKY: One quick caveat, he took two years off to do it. He dropped out and contemplated that he would never work again. FLEEMAN: He didn't drop out. He was --


FLEEMAN: He went to prison rehab program for a while.

BRAGMAN: By the way, we always -- we always use Robert Downey Jr., who is wonderful and an idol and a role model. But I could name 20 that didn't make it, unfortunately.

KING: Thank you all very much. We wish Charlie the best, certainly. Ron Artest and his newly minted NBA championship ring, they're both here. The ring is here. Ron is here. A graduate of St. John's University of New York City, a great basketball player, an NBA championship -- champion. He's next, stick around.


KING: He is an extraordinary athlete. He's Ron Artest, a member of the NBA championship Los Angeles Lakers. He got his ring just last night. He's already going to give it away. If you want to learn more about this, you go to or We'll give you more information. The ceremony was last night where the rings were given out. The commissioner was there.

And we have the ring right here. In fact, if we can get a good shot of it. Has anybody put a value on this, Ron?

RON ARTEST, NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER: Well, you know, a couple people -- a couple of my friends, entertainment friends, when I first told people I was going to put the ring up for auction for -- to benefit mental health awareness, a couple people said, I'll buy it for 100,000, 200,000, things like that.

I was like, you know, I'd rather give more people the opportunity to get it, so I can get the message out. It's not about the money or how much money I can raise. It's more about the message.

KING: The Lakers gave one of these to each of their members. Other people get it too, right? Do they give it to their announcers?

ARTEST: Some of the announcers, the coaches, the trainers, of course the ownership and management, and then the players.

KING: Don't you want to keep it?

ARTEST: I did. You know what? When I was -- they was taking my size for order, I said, OK, if I get a size 14 -- it's a 15 now because I dislocated my ring finger -- so if I get a size 15, when I get the ring, I might keep it. So what I did was I ordered a size 11 so I could stick to the script.

KING: Why mental health?

ARTEST: You know, I'm kind of emotionally attached and invested in trying to better, like, the youth and mainly people who grew up how I grew up. I had a lot of mental health issues in my family, in my household, from cousins to aunties, anger management with myself, when I was a younger player.

I know guys who had a chance, you know, to make it in academics or athletics, but go back to the streets, you know. They go to jail or get murdered and things like that.

I'm trying, you know, catch it -- trying to catch these kids right where the turning point could possibly affect their lives negatively. So I think it's important that people understand the whole message.

KING: You're a great athlete. Coming out of St. Johns, you played two years there, all American. You're drafted 16, first round. Chicago Bulls, you wind up in Indianapolis, right?


KING: You've been in the NBA how long?

ARTEST: Eleven years.

KING: And what was -- if we had to put it some way, your problem? We all remember that great -- that incredible night in Indianapolis.

ARTEST: On your birthday.

KING: That was my birthday?

ARTEST: Yes, unfortunately.

KING: You ran off the court.


KING: And attacked a fan.


KING: Why? What happened?

ARTEST: Well, you know, that was one incident that had nothing to do with, like, you know, anger management or mental health. It was more reaction. But there was other things I've done in my career that I kind of regret.

But that night was, you know, a guy -- I actually know the guy, John Green. I could call his house right now if I wouldn't to. We're kind of buddies. The guy who threw the beer. I lost seven million dollars due to that. But he apologized. And I took most of the heat, you know, for that night.

But that night was just more of a -- there was just so much crazy stuff going on from the foul, to Ben Wallace, to Ben Wallace throwing stuff and hitting me, to me trying to relax, to the guy throwing beer, hitting me in my face. And then the rest is history.

KING: How did you get the reputation? People -- I'll give you an example. I had lunch with the owner of Indianapolis. Nice guy.


KING: Loves you.

ARTEST: Mr. Simon.

KING: Great guy. Loves you. But he had -- he wanted you to leave.


KING: How do you explain that?

ARTEST: Well, you know, when I first got into college, I'm fresh out of Plainbridge, right out of the ghetto where Nas and Mobb Deep was from. So once I get out of college, I do two years -- once I get out of high school, two years in college, right to the NBA. So you're getting a kid who was transitioning from the ghetto to becoming rich overnight. And the mentality never changed, you know?

KING: You're still a ghetto kid?

ARTEST: Definitely still ghetto kid. The mentality never changed. So I had to actually adjust to my environment, my new environment, which is hard for me, because, you know, I'm fresh -- you know, I'm still like a ticking time bomb so to speak. So I had to kind of evolve.

KING: You went from having no money to having how much?

ARTEST: You know, having no money to signing a three million dollar deal with the option of four million, five million deal, something like that. I was spending so much of it at a young age, I forgot.

KING: What did it mean? Money meant nothing to you.

ARTEST: No, absolutely, I put no importance on it. You know, there was times I was self-destructive, you know, where I know it can hurt my future. I know I have a chance to make tons of money and have my family set for life. But there were times when I was like, you know what, who cares about that? I'm ghetto. I had this mentality that it was just so bad --

KING: How did it affect your play? You're one of the best defensive players in all of basketball.


KING: How did it hurt you?

ARTEST: Being one of the best defensive players of all time, you know, but it definitely affected me, because it was -- I had emotional -- like it was an emotional roller coaster. I have highs. I have lows, you know? I had my first baby when I was 16 with my wife. We have been together for 17 years, since I was 14 years old. But I was transitioning, trying to become a father, NBA player. All this stuff is going, you know, through my mind. So any little thing that I didn't address at that time, I will hold it all in, hold it all in. Sometimes it would lead to experimenting with things that I should not experiment with, drinking a little bit too much alcohol, and trying to be an athlete, a world class athlete, and drinking alcohol beverages and things like that. It just doesn't mix.

KING: Did you ever play while drinking?

ARTEST: Not while drinking. But I did like the night before, you know, too much drinking. Maybe you wake up in the morning --

KING: How did you keep the marriage going?

ARTEST: Oh, it was rough. It was rough. But she was tougher than I was.

KING: How about medication?

ARTEST: Never been on medication.

KING: You are not on medication now?

ARTEST: No, never.

KING: We'll give you some eye-popping details about the NBA ring and how we're going to raffle it off. This exclusive is starting here tonight. Don't go away.


KING: Ron, by the way, was a math major. His son is a math wizard. Skipped what grade?

ARTEST: He skipped the third grade and could have went to the fifth. But he's in fourth. He's going to New York State Regional Math Finals.

KING: It's in the genes. We're back with Mr. Artest. He's raffling off his NBA championship ring. Got it last night. Let's tell you more about the ring. It's adorned with a piece of the actual ball used in game seven of the 2010 NBA finals. The two Larry O'Brien trophies representing back-to-back titles are made from a custom batch of 18 carat gold. Sixteen oversized round brilliant white diamonds indicate the 16 championships the Laker franchise has won.

Each player is immortalized with a three dimensional sculpture of their face on the respective rings. The final score of the Lakers 83- 79 game seven -- seven game victory over the Celtics is represented on the side of the ring in scoreboard fashion. I guess you could say it's priceless.


KING: All right. How does this raffle work? You're going to raffle it off. How's it work? ARTEST: We raffle it off. We give more fans the opportunity to participate, because I didn't want to just sell it or auction it off --

KING: You by a raffle ticket?

ARTEST: You buy a raffle ticket for two dollars. Two dollars each raffle ticket. A minimum of five raffle tickets. And all the money will go towards mental health awareness. And whether it's a school or community centers trying to provide psychologists for kids who don't have, you know, the means to pay for therapy. When I was young -- luckily, when I was 13, I had -- my psychologist was paid for. My mom found an organization where I could get help for my anger management. I was 13 years old.

Now that I'm older and in the NBA, I can pay for the stuff. It's easy. I have marriage counseling, parent counseling. I was a young dad, so I had to become a better dad. I had anger management counseling. But some kids can't pay for that, white, black, Asian, Mexican, whatever. It leads to foster homes, you know. And then it just kind of recycles itself, you know, welfare and all this stuff. Kids don't know how to deal with their problems.

KING: All right. Anybody watching, you can start buying tickets right now. Ticket, at two dollars each. You must buy five tickets, right? You got to invest ten dollars. How do you go online?

ARTEST: You can go to

KING: Just

ARTEST: Yes, it's real simple.

KING: What happens when you hit the website?

ARTEST: Once you go to, right under a video which see on the screen right now, you're going to see "Win My Bling." You just click on that.

KING: Win my -- why do you call it a bling?

ARTEST: That's what the website people came up with. I was kind of questioning that also. But bling is like -- you know, it's like a young term.

KING: And when will the raffle off take off?

ARTEST: It is going to start right now, live on "LARRY KING" tonight. And the winner will be picked on Christmas Day.

KING: Christmas day. Where will that occur, at the game?

ARTEST: The winner will be picked on the website.

KING: You're playing the Heat? ARTEST: We're playing the Heat. After the game, we'll pick the winner. The winner will actually get a chance to come. We'll fly you into L.A. And you'll win two tickets to a game. And then the Four Seasons is sponsoring a hotel room for the guest also.

KING: And then you get the ring.

ARTEST: You get the ring.

KING: You could win this ring for 10 dollars?

ARTEST: You can win that ring for 10 dollars.

KING: And you could buy thousands of tickets if you want, right?

ARTEST: Yes. You win it for 10,000, then you're doing -- you do what you want to do with it. It's special. It's definitely a tribute to Kobe Bryant, you know, for just being there, being a great leader. And actually I want to give you this book signed from Derek Fisher.

KING: "Character Driven."

ARTEST: "Character Driven." He gave this book to the whole team last year. We all read it. He gave a speech right after the third quarter and we was down 13 points in game seven, the last game of everything. And the speech he gave was amazing. It shows what type of person he is. Five rings. A champion at heart and in the soul. He signed that book for you.

KING: He has a very ill daughter. How is she doing?

ARTEST: She's doing great. His family's doing great.

KING: You had an ill son, right?

ARTEST: I had an ill daughter. She had (INAUDIBLE) tumor. It was cancer in the kidney. Mr. Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, he led me to some great doctors and everything. So it's great.

KING: Ron has gotten many accommodations from the city of Los Angeles, the city of Las Vegas, the key to the city of Las Vegas, all for the work he does for mental health. And now you can go right now and buy a raffle ticket for this ring. You go to And then when you get to there, you hit what?

ARTEST: "Win My Bling."

KING: "Win My Bling." Here's what his fellow Lakers have to say, next.


KING: We're back with Ron Artest, who is auctioning off his NBA ring. By the way, the winner of the ring will receive a check to cover the tax liabilities. So Ron and his people have thought of everything. It's going to cost you nothing. You can get it for minimum, 10 dollars. Go to or link via our blog,, and we'll link you up for more information.


KING: What do Ron's fellow Lakers have to say about him and what he's doing? We asked them. Check this out.


KOBE BRYANT, LAKER: It's an extremely unselfish gesture, I think. It speaks to Ron, to his character as a person and what's dear to him, and you know standing up for what he believes in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a great thing he's doing it, because he's doing it from the heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A passion for the game, a passion for helping people, and it's great attributes to have as a teammate.

BRYANT: I just wanted to say congratulations, first of all, on helping us get that championship. And second of all for what you're doing. I think it's unbelievable. It just shows what a big heart you have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron, love you. Love what you're doing. Keep doing your thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Ron. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck of raising a lot of money with the auction of the ring, and I compliment you on it.

BRYANT: You know we support you in this decision and we'll help out wherever we can. Have a good time with my man Larry King. Out.


KING: What an honor that must be to you.

ARTEST: Yes, I mean, you know, yesterday when we was getting our rings and everybody was like, why are you not excited? I was just like, I feel humble and I feel honored just to be around Kobe and Pau. I grew up with Lamar since I was 12 years old. Without those guys, I don't have a ring, you know. People don't understand that. When I say that, I mean that. Without those guys, I don't have a ring.

And, you know, this whole day is made possible because of my teammates. So we all did it together.

KING: What a story. More moments with Ron Artest after this.


KING: Some lucky person is going to win this ring. And it all started tonight on this show. You just hit the clicker. Go to, Win my Bling. There's the ring. Two dollars a raffle ticket. You must buy five tickets. So you go to spring for 10 bucks.

We understand that Ron Artest likes to rap. Watch.




KING: Wow. New careers, is this going to be your career? Are you going to go back to architecture? What are you going to do?

ARTEST: Architecture would be great. We wrote that song in June 30th, right when I signed with the Lakers and a year before the championship. And then when we won, it was like, wow, let's just put it out. One of my friends helped me put the record out and it was fun to record and then it just happened. We recorded that record for all champions, whether it be a father or football player, whatever. It was perfect timing.

KING: We understand we've nearly crashed So we're going to give you an alternate site. You can go to That's So we've crashed your site.


KING: We have destroyed your site. The site is exploding.

ARTEST: Nobody destroys Ron Artest.

KING: Somebody is going to win this. How do you feel about all this, championship? Look at how far you've come.

ARTEST: I've come a long way. I'm just learning about myself. You know, it took a long time for me to get to this point and not get frustrated with myself all the time. Just learned about myself. And I had to dig deep with my psychologist, trying to figure out what type of person I am. Because at one point I didn't know who I was and what I was doing at one point. There's a website. It's called by Daphne Zimon (ph).

KING: I know Daphne.

ARTEST: She's great. I like the program she got going, teaching you how to fix scars kind of mentally, neurologically in some children's brains. It's kind of interesting, but just finding yourself. And it took me a long time to do that.

KING: You're a great story. How much money do you think you're going to raise? Going up to Christmas.

ARTEST: Originally, I thought it could be maybe a million or two. But with China involved and the whole world involved, NBA fans -- thanks to the NBA -- it could be more, hopefully.

KING: We're being seen all over the world right now.

ARTEST: Wow. KING: Good luck, Ron.

ARTEST: Thank you so much.

KING: Want to be a king? You can. Just enter and win our contest. Go to for details, and you might end up right here interviewing me. It's time now for Anderson Cooper -- what a ring -- Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" and what a weird story he's got. Anderson?