With all this talk of Artest’s new-found attitude, maturity and self-control on the court, something very important has been lost: Laker fans secretly want Artest to lose it.
Yeah. I said it. Enough with the “will he behave” and “can Phil keep him in line?” talk.
We all want Artest to lose his mind and just go off on someone. If he ends up pushing or hitting someone and has to be suspended for a few games, even better.
Because after another incident, there will be a creeping fear in the back of every other player’s mind: Holy crap. If I piss this guy off, he may just hit me. And that fear, that hesitation, just that thought will give the Lakers, and Artest, a mental and emotional edge over whoever he’s guarding.
Would you want to guard him after he just went off on someone? After he hit someone? Would you want him guarding you? Exactly. Most players in the NBA are pretty soft and pampered and don’t want to get hurt.
Let’s be clear: Artest is absolutely crazy. Spare me the Rodman comparisons. Rodman was an attention-needy diva who did what he did to stay in the spotlight.
Artest is not cut from the Terrell Owens/Ochocinco/Rodman cloth of crazy. Artest is certifiable crazy. As in, he’d be in an institution if he wasn’t such a specimen of an athlete. This guy grew up on courts where someone got stabbed through the chest with a table leg (seriously). You don’t quite recover from that kind of childhood. This is the same man that snapped and jumped into the stands at a professional basketball game to beat someone up. Crazy.
The guy you never want to play against but love having on your team.
All this talk of how he’s matured, however, is slowly erasing that reputation. With it goes the fear and the hesitation to go head on against him. Which is why he needs to have another meltdown. After that, no matter who, be it Lebron James or Dwayne Wade, they will hesitate, even if for a second, as they ponder their fate. Do I really want to take it hard against this insane dude?
Naw. I’ll settle for a jumper.