Ron Artest on Wednesday officially became a part of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Artest received a five-year deal worth about $33 million dollars. This either can be a major headache, or what seems to be more likely…
An absolute steal
Career averages of 16.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.1 steals.
An all-star caliber player, who has been named to All-Defensive teams, has won a Defensive Player of the Year award, and shot 40% from behind the three point line last season.
No offense to Trevor Ariza. He gave hustle, heart, and a will to improve on his game. He showed up on the biggest stage, and was a huge part why the Lakers won a NBA championship.
But Artest is better, a lot better, there’s just no argument to be made.
What Ariza’s agent didn’t know is why he was asking for more money than his client was worth, the Lakers had options of bringing in a better player than Trevor Ariza, and that player would be more then OK to sign for the MLE.
It was a no brainer, not to mention the last couple of years the Lakers have resigned their own players, they have been disappointed with their improvement. (See Sasha Vujacic, and Luke Walton)
Yes there is a crazy side of Ron-Ron that must be pointed out. His rookie season with Chicago he applied to Circuit City for a job in order to receive an employee discount. With the Pacers he attended a practice in a bath robe. He was suspended for 2 games by Pacers coach Rick Carlisle after he asked for a month off to promote his new album, and of course we all remember the 2004 brawl at the Palace.
Ron-Ron is not perfect. But it seems as if he has grown out of those immature crazy days. Sure he is still a great sound bite for reporters, and probably has a few more ejections up his sleeve. However, this new Ron Artest seems content in winning a NBA championship at all cost, and very excited to play alongside Kobe Bryant, and be coached by the G.O.A.T. Phil Jackson.
Ron Artest is this era’s Dennis Rodman. Sure Rodman dressed up in a wedding dress, dyed his hair, kicked a camera man in the groin, and even left his team before game 4 of the 1998 NBA Finals to go wrestle with Hulk Hogan.
However, those crazy antics don’t resonate as much when you produce like he did. All Rodman did in Chicago was win his fifth, sixth, and seventh rebounding title, and help the Bulls to win three straight championships.
The Rodman experiment worked in Chicago because he had a strong coach in Phil Jackson to keep him controlled, and the best in the league Michael Jordan to lead him.
Ron Artest has that same Phil Jackson, now with ten championship rings, and the best in the league Kobe Bryant to lead him.
Artest is a player that you love to hate when he’s on the opposing team, but a guy you can’t help but love when he’s in your team’s uniform. A pit-bull, that will defend the wing, back up his teammates, and most importantly do whatever it takes to win.
“Kobe has four rings, I’ve got none,” Artest said. “I’ve got to have one; I need one bad.”
Next season might be a year where the Lakers might take a sigh of relief. Artest will be there to push them to do it again and go back to back.
You might see Artest at the clubs on Sunset after the game, he might say some alarming things in the media, heck he might even pay homage to Dennis Rodman and throw on a wedding dress.
But if it produces a couple more championships. The crazy antics will just be another sub-plot in this succesfull Hollywood drama.
David Brickley is a staff writer, and host of The Voice of the Nation podcast on TLN. You can view more of his work at davidjbrickley.com.