There are few names in Professional Sports that inflict fear and general clamor into the hearts of all who speak their names. Were they not ridiculously gifted with physical prowess, they would be just another undiagnosed sociopath or schizophrenic.
By now we all know the names of these loose cannons whose off court/field antics are as notorious as the Unabomber or Tom Cruise: Chad Johnson, Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman and Terrell Owens to name a few.
And then there is Sacramento Kings Forward Ron Artest. The de rigueur trade commodity supposedly coveted by Laker fans citywide. The 28- year old Artest has, over the course of his award-winning career, played for three teams and has been seemingly banished from his last two.
The burning questions here are: Why can’t a player named the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year find a steady home? Why can’t a player who averaged 20 points per game last year be a star or even a superstar?
The answer is simple: Ronald William Artest, Jr. is bat**** insane. And not in that cute, crazy “I can only play piano in a sandbox” way that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is. That is eccentricity. And not in the zany wacky way that Bugs Bunny has made a career out of. That is just hilarious. Ron Artest is frightening crazy. Psychopathic scary.
If the Lakers were to acquire Artest, most likely they would have to part ways with Lamar Odom, one of the leagues most talented and best human beings. They would most likely have to eliminate one of their core players who is so versatile and unique, the league may never see a player of Lamar’s capability again.
So if the Laker front office believes that subtracting Lamar and replacing him with Ron Artest is indeed the panacea and will ultimately boost the Lakers to a Championship, they might want to look at Ron-Ron’s track record and see what kind of dude they are bringing in.
I have my own thoughts, feelings, opinions, and gripes with the Ron-Ron question that seems to have permeated this website. There are so many incidents and stories about Ron Artest. I wouldn’t trust this dude to serve Kobe Bryant Gatorade, much less serve as starting Small Forward for my venerated Los Angeles Lakers.
Artest’s bizarre behavior began in his Rookie year with the Chicago Bulls when he applied for a job at a Downtown Circuit City in order to receive an employee discount for electronic equipment. To add to his lore, Artest once showed up to Pacer practice in a bathrobe after being denied a month off from playing in order to promote an album he produced. Absurd? Yes. Hilarious? Yes. Wacky? Sure. Professional? Not even close.
On November 19, 2004, Artest transcended the realm of cutesy games and entered Psychoville. With 45.9 seconds left in a game between the Pacers and the Pistons, Ron Artest fouled Piston Center Ben Wallace. Big Ben shoved Ron-Ron. The two began arguing and Ron retreated to the scorer’s table to take a rest. While reclining, the gears started turning in his head. Ron took a radio headset and pretended to give a radio interview while Detroit fan John Green threw a full cup of beer at the Pacer forward. That’s when things got surreal…
Enraged, Ron dashed up the four rows into the crowd and began wailing on a fan. Not even the fan that threw the cup. Artest went postal on a scrawny kid in a black polo with glasses. Ron was joined by teammates Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson (who is not the most mentally stable dude either) in savagely beating fans. Ron was suspended for the remainder of the season.
Never in history has there been such a breach of professionalism and obscene misconduct in sports. Revolting? Yes. Frightening? Absolutely.
It is not cute and it is not hilarious.
The Ron Artest question that plagues the Lakers Nation is not really a question at all.
It is an elixir brewed up by local newspapers and television pundits who somehow think that the Lakers NBA Championship aspirations are predicated on the addition of Ron Artest at any cost. This is not true. It is snake oil being force fed to you.
The bottom line is that Ron Artest is the wrong choice for this team; and not just because there are 50 Circuit City stores in the Greater Los Angeles area. Ron Artest is the wrong choice because of his mental unpredictability and questionable ethics.
To have Ron Artest wear the Purple and Gold of the Los Angeles Lakers and to see Lamar depart would without question be one of the most crushing and horrifying blows in Laker history.
Ron Artest is a recipe for disaster.
Just trust me on this one.