Maybe it's the universe's way of paying it forward after a 10-year-old spent $8,500 to buy William Perry's Super Bowl ring earlier this week. Minnesota Timberwolves player Darko Milicic is doing something kinda "awww"-tastic: He's auctioning the 2004 NBA championship ring he won with the Detroit Pistons to raise money and awareness for children dealing with the terminal illness Batten disease. He's also auctioning off the championship belt that was given to him by retired NBA player Rasheed Wallace.
Batten disease is a neurological disorder that affects mostly children and gradually causes blindness, seizures, and death. Ughhh ... so awful!
It's incredible that Milicic is making an effort to do something about it. He grew concerned about the disorder when he and his wife read a newspaper story in his native country, Serbia, about a family confronted with it. As a result, he paid for four children to travel to China for stem cell treatments.
It seems like he's really concerned about raising money, because the cost of treating Batten disease is currently sky-high -- $35,000 per treatment.
Milicic told ESPN that he got the idea to raise money for the disease from Ron Artest, who auctioned off his Lakers championship ring to raise money for mental health programs in schools.
Wow, I am so impressed with these guys! It's one thing to lend your name and face to a cause, like many professional athletes do. But to personally get involved in a health cause in order to raise money and awareness -- that's amazing! It actually makes me think that it would probably be smart for the NBA and NFL and any other professional athletic institution to organize some kind of program where the players could automatically auction their championship rings off for a cause of their choice after X number of years.
I mean, really, those rings or even other memorabilia can obviously wrack up a LOT of money, and what use are they to players after a certain point? Sure, they're shiny and fun to look at and say, "Look what I accomplished!" But if their value could translate to saving a kid's life ... or preventing a family from going into bankruptcy ... wow. That would be a tremendous way of spreading the "winning!" love.
Do you agree?
Image via NBA.com