Still Got It

NEW LONGFORM IS HERE. In the meantime, read this absolutely amazing Artest interview at The Starting Five. One of the better conversations I've ever seen with a player, and did a lot to rekindle my interest in a guy I'd kind of tired of. Yes, I have zero loyalty.

Ron Ron on the charity event he's appearing at:

I wish there was more gangsters here though. I wish there was more street dudes. Dudes that are in the street hustling. Kids look up to them. They don’t look up to Tiger Woods, the 9 to 5 bus driver, or the sanitation worker. They look up to the street dude. I told the people in charge that they needed to get in touch with the brothas on the street so they can give back. You can be out there doing negative dirt, but you can still give back.

I ask the street dudes and hustlers: You mean to tell me that you want the next young fella to be doing the same thing as you do and end up in jail? Give your time and tell the kids that what you do isn’t right. Tell them to change their life and give them examples of your friends that didn’t make it because of the bad choices they made. Then you can go back and do your dirt, but hopefully you’ll change. Give the kids an opportunity to hear your experiences so they can make better decisions.

I love that Artest says shit like this, but imagine if someone like Wade were willing to be this honest. Or is Artest just that much more reflective than everyone else?

And by the way, this definitely goes toward something I wrote a while ago about how Artest comes to life in sympathetic interviews. Night and fucking day.


At 12/19/2007 2:31 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

The one thing that damages more reputations than anything else is the assumption that there are good people and bad people and that that's that. Ron Artest was a victim of the fact that very few people were actually watching the Pacers/Pistons game on That Fateful Night, and thus were unaware that everything Ron says in that interview about the fight is absolutely true.

The thing I remember most about watching that night was that it was the worst sports fight I'd ever seen BEFORE Ron and Steven Jackson went into the stands. When Ron went to lay down on the scorer's table, I remember thinking it was a good idea, that he'd probably save himself a couple games suspension. Then that asshole threw a full cup of beer on him from point blank range. The same thing happened to me at a party a couple years before; some drunk dickhead thought he was being funny. The effect was like being punched in the face. Hard. So I kicked the guy's ass.

When the same thing happened to Ron---who, completely aside from being a fiercely intense volatile cat at his MOST relaxed---my mouth opened and before I could say "this is not good" things were a step or two beyond not good.

I apologize for rambling, so to sum up: Ron Artest is the most unfairly vilified man in sports. Not even Christ would have turned the other cheek that night. All because of that one fuckheaded multiple felon in Detroit, the lead sentence in Ron Artest's obituary will be that he Went Up Into The Stands During An NBA Game, not that he's the thoughtful seeker of truth and moral clarity that this interview presents so eloquently.

At 12/19/2007 5:41 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Rather than discuss Artest I wanna address the longform piece about what's wrong with the Suns. I've said it before, but IMO if the Suns want to win a title they have to get rid of Nash. Nash has been at the helm of the highest scoring team in the NBA for 7 straight seasons now and has yet to even sniff a game in The Finals.

The Suns barely beat a Parker-less Spurs team the other night, and that doesn't bode well for them, because Parker can be an absolute demon if he's not well-covered, and with Nash on him you can bet he won't be. Phoenix's problem this year is that in addition to having no one to guard Parker, they now have no one to guard Duncan since they foolishly traded Kurt Thomas away. Call it a wash if you want, but I don't see B. Skinner doing anywhere near the job that KT did on Duncan last year in the playoffs.

With Duncan able to run riot on the Spurs that's gonna let Parker blow past Nash for one easy layup after another come playoff time, and that's if the Suns even get to play San Antonio. There's a lot of teams in the West with inside games this year and the Suns have absolutely nobody to play post defense. In addition to not having anyone to guard Duncan, the Suns are going to have that same dilemma if they face Utah (who guards Boozer?) or Houston (who guards Yao?), and it's looking like they might even have that problem if they face the Lakers again (who guards Bynum?). Phoenix better hope they get to play the Warriors, the Nuggets or the Hornets in the postseason, cause if they play a team who actually has a down-low scorer they're going to have problems.

So why trade Nash? Well it's right there in the longform article. You can't trade Marion or Raja to upgrade the D cause those guys are elite at those positions. If you trade Amare you better get a beast on both ends of the floor cause otherwise you're losing the one post threat on offense. Grant Hill's contract is too small to bring in anyone of impact in a trade. So who you gonna trade? Trade Nash. Trade him now while his stock is high before age takes his game over the cliff and kills the one thing the Suns are good at. You wanna keep running and gunning? Trade him for Jason Kidd and really rape the Nets in the process to do it (Kidd's all hot and bothered to leave NJ anyway). Trade Nash and dump Diaw and Marcus Banks' bad contracts on the Nets along with Eric Piatkowski for Kidd, Jamal Magloire, Sean Williams and Marcus Williams.

You don't want to trade Nash for Kidd? Find somewhere else to trade him. You'd think that you'd be able to net an absolute windfall if you traded Nash, and Phoenix should do it cause that Nash way of playing basketball is only good for winning regular season games but is pretty bad when it comes to winning championships. You gotta have defense and interior scoring if you want to win in the postseason and the Suns have a distinct lack of both. Even worse than lacking badly in those areas, Nash negatively contributes to those deficiencies cause he's absolutely horrid defensively, and all his dribbling precludes any kind of inside-out post game. Nash is a phenomenal player, but if one thing has been proven over and over the last 7 or 8 seasons it's that a team built around Nash can't win a title, no matter how many All-Stars you surround him with; because even though he might help pad their individual stats, he's not conducive to playing championship-style basketball.

You may now proceed to flay the skin off my body for having the audacity, especially on this site, to declare that Nash is in fact what is preventing the Suns from winning.

At 12/20/2007 3:12 AM, Blogger gordon gartrelle said...

I really enjoyed that interview. Artest was surprisingly self-critical. But he needs to be honest: he didn't want to fight Wallace because Wallace's shoulders look like bowling balls.

And I think its interesting that he saw the beer throwing as racially motivated, hence the "white dude" John Green stuff.

Aside from impulse control and the fact that he's a black "ghetto" NBA player, his biggest problem is that he's socially awkward in front of cameras. I don't even think he realized that promoting his wack CD (didn't it sell 1 copy?) wasn't a good look at that time.

At 12/20/2007 10:01 AM, Blogger paperpusher said...

charity events have a basic conflict built in, however - their purpose is to help, of course, but their main focus is to pull in money from big donors to further their purpose. big donors get scared off by the street. anecdotal - Habitat linked itself to a movie produced by Dale Davis a couple years ago, premiered during All Star week in Houston. Lots of street showed up, the movie was a variation of the Kobe/rape story (cameo by Hubie!), and afterward the national Habitat office scurried to put as much distance as possible between itself and the movie's message.

otoh, the ballers who went outside in freezing temps that week to help frame the Habitat house at the Toyota Center, that was awesome, but it comes off like those NFL United Way commercials.

At 12/20/2007 11:37 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

@gg: I don't think he was saying the beer throwing itself was racially motivated, he was saying the media perception of what happened was influenced by John Green being a "white dude," that Artest is perceived as this crazy thug who goes into the stands to punch fans, while people don't really criticize Green. Obviously, most people think Green is a dickhead, but the media focus has been on Artest.

About the foul that kicked it all off, Artest is right that it wasn't a hard foul, but it was totally cheap and bullshit. He pushed him in the back, didn't go for the ball at all, and the game was basically already over. It was totally unnecessary, and I can see why Big Ben was heated about it.

At 12/20/2007 11:59 AM, Blogger gordon gartrelle said...


Yeah, he is clearly upset about the media's racially biased framing, but it feels like "how could I let a white dude do that to me?"

At 12/21/2007 9:14 PM, Blogger Zion said...

If a person establishes himself as a moral authority, then he can't preach against his own condition. This is a logical fallacy; of course, it acquires a primordial honesty beneath the metaphysical macroscope. It may not be "Scared Straight", or else Artest didn't catch the end. Furthermore, the silence on his "9 to 5 bus driver...sanitation worker" comment is deafening. Artest seems to have co-opted an archetype without recognizing that he picked it up on the other end of the antihero equation.

At 12/22/2007 3:39 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Thanks for the link. Much appreciated. I wish I videotaped this interview so people could see the contrition in Ron's eyes. He definitely meant the media coverage and not that a "white dude" did this to him. Yeah he messed up, but there's not a person on the planet that could tell me he deserved the blunt of the brawl blame. It's ridiculous on so many levels and smacks of pandering bs. Fan accountability is non existent unless commissioners and editors step up (yeah right). Corporate interests (relationships?) intended to propagate consumer exposure is ripping apart sports as we know it. Are we going to let this happen or do something about it is the question.

Ron is just one example. I interviewed Chuck D (posted before Christmas) of Public Enemy for two hours last night. We have some intriguing points describing where NBA fear/hate initiated.


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