Posts Tagged ‘Ron Artest’

It took three hours, three overtimes and 139 points, but the Los Angeles Lakers got a hard fought win against the Phoenix Suns. And in the process they gave us the Game of the Year.

I have watched a lot of games this year and not one of them came close to this one.

This game had everything. From a blown 20 point lead to clutch 3 pointers by Channing Frye to Kobe hitting big shots and Ron Artest dunking on an improbable breakaway and kissing his biceps in celebration. If you didn’t like this game then you just don’t like basketball.

The Suns came back from a 20 point second half deficit to tie the game at the end of regulation. Watching the Lakers blow another big lead like that reminded me of the old Lakers. The Lakers that would continually take games off. Even in the playoffs. The Lakers that would get bored and the only way they could get any excitement was to let every team back into that game and try to pull out a win in the last seconds.

The first overtime ended with a very questionable shooting foul on Lamar Odom. Channing Frye makes all three freethrows to send the game into its second OT.

And just a thought here. When did Channing Frye become Mr. Clutch? Its come to the point that when he shoots a three pointer even I think, “Yeah, that’s going in.”

Frye hits another three near the end of the second OT to put the Suns up with 50 seconds left. Then Pau Gasol gets fouled but doesn’t get a pretty obvious goaltending call in his favor. But he does hit two freethrows with two seconds left to tie the game.

Ron Artest came up big in the third OT, scoring five of his 18 points in the last two minutes. Its always good to see Ron Ron do well. Not only because the Lakers usually win when he plays well but because his post game interviews are always so great.

Kobe Bryant had a season high 42 points and almost messed around and had a triple double with 12 rebounds and 9 assists.

I’m sure the Lakers will be happy to get Andrew Bynum back so he can play some defense and they won’t have to score 139 points to win the next game.

The Lakers are a very impressive 14-1 since the All-Star break and seem to be peaking at the right time. It remains to be seen if they will win another championship but the seem to be on the right track.

Do you remember LeBron James’ “What Should I do?” Nike commercial? In one scene he is dressed up like a desperado from the Wild West. He asks, “Should I accept my role as a villain?” That may have been a bit of foreshadowing because LeBron has certainly been relishing his role as the villain lately.

He took a lot of heat for “The Decision” last summer. Most of it was warranted but some of it just piling on. And LeBron took notice. And he took down names. “Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!” he tweeted. (I have to confess, I was one of the people taking shots at him last summer. And I hope I am not on his list. I figure I am already on the Fox News hit list and I don’t need to be on another.)

LeBron as “The Villain” may not be a role any of us though he would play, but I have to admit, he’s doing a pretty good job.

During a recent game against the Portland Trailblazers he seemed to be egging on the crowd as they booed and jeered him after he led the Heat to an overtime win. The only thing that was missing was him cupping a hand to his ear in that “What’s that you’re saying? I can’t hear you,” pose. That’s classic Villain.

After the Cavaliers got a 54 point beat down by the Los Angeles Lakers he took a shot at his former team via Twitter. “Crazy. Karma is a bitch. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!” he said. That’s the Social Media Villain.

The only problem is, I can’t tell if he is just acting or if he is really pissed off and taking it out on the whole league. Up until now his whole persona has so manufactured and predictable. I hope that this is real because I don’t think I can take another pre-packaged LeBron personality.

I don’t want him to go into the stands and punch out some fans like Ron Artest or kick a cameraman in the crotch like Dennis Rodman, but I do want to see him get angry. I want to see 19,000 rabib fans boo and jeer him from the opening tip off to the final buzzer. And I want to see him take all of the negative energy and use it as inspiration. I want to see him develop a mean streak. Because I think he needs that mean streak.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant both have that mean streak in them. When they get pissed off and you see that look in their eye, you know they are about to take over a game and crush the opposing team. And they have eleven championship rings between them.

This is the probably the first time in his life where he has encountered this level of hatred and ill will. Think back to the pre-Decision LeBron. He was welcome in every arena the Cavs played in. Now, anywhere outside of South Beach he is public enemy number one.

This backlash may be exactly what LeBron needs to take his game to the next level. And by that I mean winning a championship. All this hate may be bringing out the killer instinct in LeBron. And that’s the one thing he has been missing. I think he is finally starting to enjoy crushing the hopes and dreams not only of his opponents, but of all their fans as well.

And that is bad news for the rest of the league.

Winning the first game of the NFL season is a big deal. Don’t let anyone fool you. It sets the tone for the rest of the season.

If you win, you know all your hard work during the offseason and in training camp paid off (that is unless your name is Brett Favre or Albert Haynesworth). Lose that first game and you start to question all your preparations (see Favre, Brett and Haynesworth, Albert).

So if you won your first game in a dominating fashion, say, by a score of 38-24, you would think that would make you very happy, right?

Not if your name is Randy Moss.

He picked possibly the worst time to start bitching and moaning about his contract and how he is not appreciated by the New England Patriots and their fans. I mean, really, it’s week one!

And what was with that get up? It looked like he was channeling the gangsta ghost of Allen Iverson. And I have to take a minute here and say how much I hate it when pro athletes wear gear from another city during press conferences or interviews. Show at least a little bit of loyalty and wear something from your team’s town or at least from the region.  And like most bad trends in sports, this seems to have started with LeBron James. (Think about it.)

Getting back to Randy Moss, if you listen to his meandering interview, what you really hear is someone who is hurt. It really sounds like his feelings are hurt. When he said, “Around here in the New England area, I think a lot of people don’t want to see me do good,” we all got a good look into his psyche. To think that people are out there rooting against you says volumes about what’s going on in your head.

It seems a bit trite to say it but I think Randy Moss needs a hug. I think the Pats need to “show him some love” as the kids like to say these days. And “love” in the world of pro athletes means “money.”

Unfortunately, Randy plays for the Patriots, who have no problem throwing players overboard no matter how good they are. So he’s going to have to get his love somewhere else.

The good news is that he is still an elite wide receiver and any team will be better off by signing him.

But in the meantime, my advice to him is just sit back and enjoy the ride. You will find a place that makes you happy.

Hey, even Ron Artest got his ring.

I absolutely love the signing of Matt Barnes by the Los Angeles Lakers.

I know a lot of people were getting excited by the possibility of the Lakers getting Chris Paul but I tell you, Matt Barnes is better for the Lakers.

The Lakers would have to give up too much to get Chris Paul. Lamar Odom and Steve Blake plus some draft pick would have to be headed to New Orleans in order for CP3 to wear the Purple and Gold. So the Lakers would basically have to decimate their bench to get Paul. Not the best situation. Plus Chris Paul doesn’t really fit in with the Triangle Offense. He needs to create off the dribble and improvise.

With Matt Barnes the Lakers have a bench of Barnes, Odom, Blake and Shannon Brown. Those four could start for any other team in the NBA. Compare that to a bench of Derek Fisher, Brown and Sasha Vujacic. That’s a no brainer in my book. The former is greater than the latter.

And Matt Barnes is a beast on defense. Just think back to The Orlando Magic’s game against the Lakers this season where Barnes went after Kobe Bryant all game. Anyone who can consistently get in the face of the Best Player in the Game has my respect. To quote Ron Artest, “Matt has the heart off a lion on steroids wit extra chest hairs and three testicles screaming “Adrian “!!!!!! And Ron knows something about the heart of a lion and all that other stuff.

Matt Barnes will give fits to the Big Three from both Miami and Boston. He gives the Lakers more toughness and an even better defense. Matt Barnes will be the NBA version of the “enforcer” of the NHL. I can already see LeBron James getting an elbow to the jaw and I approve.

All I can say is,”Welcome home, Matt (he went to UCLA) and start getting fitted for that championship ring!”

America loves a winner. From “Rocky” to the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team. We love winners. Short of (allegedly) murdering your ex-wife and a waiter, we are willing to forgive a lot as long as you win. We love winners more than we love ourselves. Once you are a champion we will gladly welcome you into our hearts.

After the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals only one question remains: Is America ready for Ron Artest?

We all remember where we were when the name “Ron Artest” first came into our collective consciousness. It was November 19, 2004. The Indiana Pacers were visiting the Detroit Pistons. With less than a minute left in the game, whose outcome had already been decided, Artest and Detroit center Ben Wallace got into an altercation. That fight led to a Detroit fan throwing a drink at Atrest. Ron snapped and went into the stands and started swinging. More Pacer players followed him and a full scale riot broke out.

The fighting even spilled onto the floor. It was probably the worst day in the history of the NBA.

The fallout was quick and swift. In all, nine players were suspended without pay, with Artest getting the worst of it. He was suspended for the remainder of the season. Legal charges were filed against Artest and others. Ron pleaded “no contest” and was sentenced to one year of probation, 60 hours of community service, a $250 fine and was required to attend anger management classes.

Most people pointed the finger at Ron. This was all his fault. He was crazy, uncontrollable. Commentators went so far as saying he should be banned for life. Fans wanted him in jail.

Ron Artest had become the Most Hated Man in Sports.

Fast forward to June 17, 2010. Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Ron Artest is the only bright spot for the Los Angeles Lakers. While Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were struggling to get any kind of offense going, it was Artest who was carrying the team. He was the leading scorer in the first half. He was playing great defense against Pau Pierce. With 1:02 to go in the game he hits what will probably go down as the biggest shot of his career; a three pointer that put the Lakers up 79-73. The best part about that shot was Ron Ron running back on defense and blowing kisses to the crowd. Classic.

Throughout this season Ron took an incredible amount of criticism from fans and media alike. Many people were saying that the Lakers would rue the day they did not re-sign Trevor Ariza. And with every missed three pointer, every blown defensive assignment and every mistake Artest made those voices grew louder and louder.

Make no mistake about it, if the Lakers would have lost Game 7 the blame would have come down squarely on the shoulders of Ron Artest.  And let’s face it; he had four really horrible games. The Boston Celtics were playing off him every game, daring him to shoot. Even at home, every time he would launch a three pointer you could hear the crowd scream “Nooooooooooo!”

But in the biggest game, on the biggest stage, Ron Artest stepped up and played like a champion. He single handedly saved the Lakers season, Kobe’s legacy and the city’s pride. Ron Ron was the MVP of Game 7.

It’s amazing what winning a championship can do for a person. All of a sudden, all those traits that you used to think were strange or even repulsive now become quirky, even endearing. Winning forgives a lot of sins. It’s always been that way. In six short years Ron Artest has gone from social outcast to the King of LA.

America, say hello to the new Ron Artest; eccentric, savior, champion.