Los Angeles Lakers: Ron Artest

Walking down Metta memory lane

July, 12, 2013
7/12/13
9:43
AM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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What's the first thing that springs to mind when I think back on two seasons of covering Ron Artest, plus two seasons of covering Metta World Peace in Los Angeles?

"I can't remember."

It was World Peace's go-to answer in the postgame locker room when we asked about anything that made him remotely uncomfortable -- a foul, a missed shot, a turnover, a referee's decision, a teammate's shoddy play.

Metta World Peace
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesIn a word, the time Metta World Peace spent in Los Angeles with the Lakers can be labeled as memorable for a variety or reasons.
But despite all the times he feigned memory loss, for me, covering the guy was unforgettable.

He is one of the game's true characters, a living contradiction as a fierce, muscle-bound competitor with the wacky, off-the-wall humor of a cartoon character.

Phil Jackson once described him as a "na´ve, innocent lamb."

James Harden once received a vicious, violent elbow from that lamb, right in the chops.

He was capable of inspiring you -- coming back to the court just 12 days after knee surgery last season; working day and night to lose more than 20 pounds in the middle of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign; opening up about a painful childhood to try to erase the stigma and discrimination attached to those with mental health disabilities and really becoming a champion of the cause.

He was capable of infuriating you -- bullying younger players like Brandon Knight and Michael Beasley both physically and verbally without prompt; mocking former Lakers head coach Mike Brown for his background as a video coordinator.

And he was capable of making you shake your head and laugh -- making one of his haphazard failed coast-to-coast attempts that made you hear the "Benny Hill Show" theme song in your head; choosing to wear No. 37 to honor the number of Michael Jackson's No. 1 chart-topping singles; punctuating a successful play by kissing his biceps and blowing kisses to the crowd.

And through it all, he gave Lakers fans a boatload of memories.

From the serendipitous 2010 playoff run that resulted in three all-time great Laker moments:

1. His game-winning putback layup (cleaning up a Kobe Bryant miss) in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, assuring L.A. would go into Phoenix up 3-2 for Game 6, rather than facing a potential elimination game on the road.

(Read full post)

PodKast: Final shots, new coaches, naming trends

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
4:59
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
With Oct. 1, Media Day and the season's official start inching ever so close, you can begin to smell basketball in the air. (As opposed to the other scent permeating throughout the Southland.) The anticipation is building and Lakers fans are excited. But even with roundball existing purely on the horizon, there's still plenty to discuss, because that's how the purple and gold world works.

The show can be heard by clicking on the module, and a list of talking points can be found below:



Play Download

- (2:00): We're rooting for second-round pick Robert Sacre to make the team not necessarily because of his skill set, but the endless pun-ny possibilities his last name offers.

- (5:00): While I was on vacation, Brian and Ramona Shelburne tackled the "who takes the last shot?" question on an edition of The Forum. Since I'm back in town, we make it a familial discussion. To me, if the situation specifically calls for a 3-pointer, I'd run the entire operation through Steve Nash. He's the best option to take the shot, can create his own look and will always find an open shooter for a kick out. If it's an old-fashioned two-pointer, however, Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Antawn Jamison all represent viable options, depending on the situation, given their proven scoring abilities and this team's collective ability to move the ball. And that it doesn't have to be one guy is a major plus enjoyed by few teams in the league.

Fans and media will inevitably obsess over who gets the rock in the final seconds, but as long as the players don't, the possibilities are borderline limitless.

- (10:20): A fun trip down Ron Artest-Bad-Shot-Memory-Lane, including this gem Hardwood Paroxysm's Rob Mahoney set to "Yakety Sax." (We'd also both forgotten how Kobe bailed out this bizarre possession with a triple from about three feet behind the line. Easy peasy, no worries. In retrospect, Phil Jackson should have run this set more often.)

- (19:00): In Eddie Jordan, Bernie Bickerstaff, and Steve Clifford, Mike Brown has assembled quite the army of assistant coaches. What effect will these new faces -- along with a new offensive system -- have on the team?

- (25:30): Apropos to nothing in particular, how have American names changed over the last 100 years? We compare the most popular names of 1911 and 2011.

Pau finalist for citizenship award

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
9:06
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
The list of things Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace have in common expanded by one.

It used to be just:

1. Both play professional basketball
2. Both play pro basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers

Now you can add:

3. Both have been nominated for the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

Gasol was named as one of the four finalists for the award on Tuesday. The distinction is awarded annually to the player, coach or trainer who shows "outstanding service and dedication to the community." The other finalists include Orlando’s J.J. Redick, Dallas’ Jason Terry and Atlanta’s Josh Smith.

World Peace won the award last season back when he was still Ron Artest.

Gasol visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis back in March and this 2010 column by ESPN's Tom Friend gives a good feel of Gasol's continual charitable involvement in the medical community.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Goudelock: 'I think I'm just as good as everybody in that draft'

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
10:57
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
It was one thing for Lakers second-round draft pick Andrew Goudelock to draw comparisons to Nick Van Exel, a high-scoring yet low-to-the-ground guard (Van Exel is 6-1, Goudelock is listed generously at 6-3) second-round steal the Lakers acquired with the No. 37 pick back in 1993.

It was another thing entirely for Kobe Bryant, a once-in-a-generation talent, to compare Goudelock to himself.

"He’s not afraid to shoot," Bryant said Tuesday after Goudelock chipped in 12 points in the Lakers' rout of the Bobcats. "He’s got a little nickname now. We call him, ‘Mini Mamba.’"

It's no coincidence that Goudelock, the No. 46 pick out of the College of Charleston, has averaged 11.5 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 57.1 percent shooting on 3-pointers (8-for-14) in 20.8 minutes in the last four games and the Lakers have gone 3-1.

After disappearing from the lineup for about a month when he opened up the season as Bryant's primary backup at shooting guard and re-emerged in Lakers coach Mike Brown's rotation as Derek Fisher's primary backup at point guard because Steve Blake went out with a rib injury, Goudelock has punched some life into the Lakers' stagnant offense.

"To have a guy that can just go play pick-and-roll and go create a shot for yourself or your teammate, that’s pretty neat to have," said Brown after Goudelock and the second unit's 48 points against Charlotte helped the Lakers top the 100-point mark in consecutive games for the first time all season. "You see other teams have them and we don’t have a ton of those guys."

While Brown sees other teams and counts their playmakers in relation to his roster, Goudelock simply sees red. After finishing fourth in the NCAA scoring race as a senior, averaging 23.7 points per game, Goudelock waited and waited on draft night as nearly two teams passed on him for every point he averaged last year.

"You try not to think about those types of things but that means 45 teams passed up on me," Goudelock said.

(Read full post)

World Peace declining? Nah, just "bored"

January, 26, 2012
1/26/12
6:54
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Since signing with the Lakers he’s changed his jersey number his name, but Metta World Peace hasn’t been able to change the fact that he’s declining as a player.

After an impressive performance in the Lakers’ 96-91 win over the Clippers on Wednesday, World Peace at least wanted to change the narrative of why his play has been slipping.

“The defense, I got to bring it back,” World Peace said after practice Thursday, a day after putting up three points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block while playing a season-high 38 minutes. “I got bored with defense because it was so easy for me to stop people over the years. I got real bored with it. When you’re playing against guys and you’re stopping guys every single time, what else are you going to do [but get bored]? It caught up to me, but this year I’m doing better. This year I’m almost back to where I want to be.”

As wild as his premise might sound (“bored” could explain why he changed his name from Ron Artest, however), Kobe Bryant actually agreed with World Peace’s logic.

“I can relate to that,” Bryant said. “That’s happened to me before as well. That’s human nature sometimes. You have to have [and] you have to find challenges that kind of get you going and keep your energy.

“It’s about finding your edge. You have to find your edge. It’s not something that’s farfetched. He was a great defensive player. Things sometimes become too easy. Offensively, things for me get really, really easy sometimes and the game just feels boring. But you have to find that edge, you have to find something that’s going to push you.”

What pushed World Peace against the Clippers was the chance to push tough guys Reggie Evans and Blake Griffin around a little bit.

“Once the guys [on the Clippers] started talking to me, I had to come out of my shell a little bit,” World Peace told 710 ESPN’s “Mason & Ireland Show” on Thursday. “So, they kind of woke me up.”

The wake-up call was appreciated by World Peace’s teammates.

“I think [Wednesday] night it was definitely a positive,” said Pau Gasol. “I don’t think you might need that necessarily every night, but his aggression and aggressiveness and level of energy last night really made an impact and that’s something that we look forward to from Ron. Because, he might not be having a great shooting night, but if he has a couple steals, gets into a couple guys’ faces, puts his body on people, knocks somebody around a little bit here and there, plays physical … He’s as physical as it gets at the small forward position. You don’t get a much stronger guy than him, so you got to use his body to be a factor.”

World Peace’s body is finally back in top form after coming into training camp admittedly out of shape. Coach Mike Brown called him “heavy” and reduced World Peace’s minutes from 29.4 per game as the starting small forward last season to 20.9 this year in a reserve role. Brown even sat World Peace out the entire game against Cleveland less than two weeks ago, surprising considering World Peace played in all 82 of the Lakers’ games a year ago.

“I just think I’m getting in shape,” World Peace told 710 ESPN. “I planned on playing really hard this season, but I couldn’t do that early on because I was out of shape and then when I got in shape, I wasn’t getting no minutes so I wasn’t able to show the things that I was able to do.”

He insists that his career low averages of 5.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.2 blocks on just 33.9 percent shooting has more to do with his minutes being cut and his body rounding into shape than it does with his not being fully engaged.

“It really hasn’t changed,” World Peace said. “I’ve just been out on the floor. On the bench, I was really enthusiastic on the bench. Bench players don’t get credit for clapping. I had a lot of energy on the bench.”

After the Clippers game, Bryant said he wants to see more of the old, aggressive Ron Artest and less of the passive World Peace.

“Ron was his feisty self on the perimeter,” Bryant said Thursday. “He just needs to be who he is. We brought him in there for him being himself, so he just has to be himself.”

World Peace wants people to know the definition of who he is doesn’t include any malicious intent.

“On the court, I’m definitely not a mean person. I’m still the same person. I play extremely hard,” he told 710 ESPN. “You won’t be seeing that much. I can play basketball with just as much energy without talking smack and still being energized and having fun with the fans.”

Gasol put it thusly: “He’s World Peace now. He can’t be too aggressive or too violent out there. He’s preaching peace.”

Still, whatever player wore No. 15 for the Lakers last night-- the docile Metta World Peace, the rambunctious Ron Artest, or some combination of the two -- was sprung to life by the Clippers. And Clippers-Lakers games are sure to be just as lively for every player involved moving forward.

“I love it,” World Peace said. “It’s a L.A. rival. It’s here. I’m happy the Clippers are doing well. I’m happy we got a chance to [be like] New York that has the subway series with the Yankees and the Mets. I’m happy to be a part of this Clippers and Lakers rivalry. I hope we meet each other in the playoffs. That would be great for the city.”

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Chat transcript

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
1:29
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Should the players just swallow their pride and make a deal? Should Lamar Odom start, come off the bench or get moved next season? Should Shannon Brown debate a career in the NFL?

These and other questions were tackled in today's chat.

Click here to relive the festivities.

D-Fenders' Musselman, Lakers' Brown share roots

October, 8, 2011
10/08/11
7:21
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
REDONDO BEACH -- Mike Brown wasn't the only head coach hired by the Lakers this summer.

While Brown was brought in to replace Phil Jackson and bring the Lakers back from a season that ended in disappointment, Eric Musselman was picked as the man to coach the Lakers' D-League franchise after a season that never occurred.

After only one winning season in its four-year existence and a bottoming-out 16-34 campaign in 2009-10, the D-Fenders took a hiatus in 2010-11 and shut down operations for a year to regroup and come back with a better-focused business strategy.

They return with Musselman calling the plays and the team playing its games at the cozy Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, the home of the Lakers' practice facility, rather than at the cavernous Staples Center where it often times seemed like the arena workers outnumbered the fans in attendance.

Brown was hired in May and has yet to go through a full practice with his team because of the NBA lockout, but Musselman -- who was hired in August -- stalked the sidelines for the first time as the D-Fenders coach Saturday.

The D-Fenders conducted an open tryout at Aviation Gym in Redondo Beach, inviting 45 players to showcase their skills in hopes of landing one of the five spots open for its upcoming veterans camp.

They will fill out the rest of the training camp roster from incumbent players who were placed on the Utah Flash last season while the D-Fenders were out of the league as well as from the five picks they have in the eight-round D-League draft.

Musselman, 46, is experienced when it comes to minor league basketball. He was hardly fazed trying to evaluate the hoard of players including Mater Dei product Taylor King (Duke, Villanova), Leuzinger High School standout Donnell Beverly (Connecticut) and Jeremiah Dominguez (Portland State) that he worked out for four hours Saturday.

Half a lifetime ago, Musselman was named the youngest head coach in the history of the Continental Basketball Association when the Rapid City Thrillers (great team name, by the way) hired him as a 23-year-old.

(Read full post)

The Forum: How would the Lakers use an amnesty provision?

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
9:45
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
The last time this whole CBA thing went down, one of the more interesting aspects of the deal was a one-time "amnesty" provision -- otherwise known as the "Allan Houston Rule"-- allowing teams to remove one player and his salary from their roster. The guy still got whatever money he was owed, but no longer counted against his squad's salary cap or factored into a luxury tax bill.

Could a similar rule be part of a new agreement, once it's hammered out? Maybe, maybe not, but either way it's an interesting question to ask: If given the opportunity, on which player would the Lakers use their amnesty chip, and why? Andy started the conversation here and on the newest edition of The Forum, we continue it with 710 ESPN hoops analyst Dave Miller.

Metta World Peace eliminated from Dancing With the Stars

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
10:33
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Well, that was quick.

In the wake of his, um... "uneven" performance on Monday's season premiere of Dancing With the Stars leaving him with the lowest score of the night (14 of 30), Metta World Peace found himself at the mercy of America's great democratic masses (reality show edition) ahead of Tuesday's elimination episode.

They have spoken -- dialed, texted, and clicked, technically-- with judgment swift and harsh. MWP got the boot.

I got the news from my mom, who from her home in St. Louis saw the broadcast ahead of us on the West Coast. "It's sad," she said. "But he wasn't very good." As usual, mom sums things up succinctly. At least nobody has to worry about any scheduling conflicts should the NBA season manage to start on time, we'll all have fun busting out "Danceatron" references throughout the season, and a cancer charity will get a nice donation courtesy of World Peace.

All's well that ends well.

Artest/World Peace Cha-Cha's on DTWS: At the buzzer

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
10:58
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Metta World Peace, apparently still called Ron Artest for the purposes of reality television, made his Dancing With the Stars debut Monday night, busting out a cha-cha with partner Peta Murgatroyd. Click here for the video. And since we don't have actual games to break down -- and may not for a while -- we're going to give his performance the standard Land O'Lakers postgame treatment. (In other news, I'm ready for the lockout to end.)

Here's how it broke down...

The Good:
  1. Huevos. The man danced a cha-cha on national television. Let's give him some credit. Did MWP and Peta remind me of internationally renowned ballroom titans Bryan Watson and Carmen Vincelj? No, they did not. But then again, let's see Bryan Watson do this. While I'm not exactly an expert in this arena, it looked like MWP was having a good time. You wouldn't expect otherwise, but the man didn't shrink from the spotlight, bringing what would be called a "fun factor."
  2. Potentially Useful Phrases and Nicknames. Bruno the Italian Judge referred to MWP as "Danceatron," before complimenting his "length of bone" (which I understood to be a synonym for "tall") and "performance value." This is all stuff we can put to good use once the season starts, and likely will. Even the negative stuff, like Len the British Guy's belief MWP's performance was "all sizzle, no sausage" will absolutely come in handy.
  3. Lamar Odom's Commercial for Pistachio Nuts. In which L.O. appears to have Artest-esque stars shaved into his head. Good to know he's staying busy, and allowing me to multi-task by keeping track of two Lakers during one broadcast ...
The Bad:
  1. Scores. They were pretty low. Two 5's and a 4, for a total of 14. Len just shredded him, calling his footwork "atrocious," saying the dance "lacked cha-cha content," and that it was "not my cup of tea." As a British guy, the man knows tea. Carrie the Nice Judge, even while trying to be just that, basically compared his actual dancing, on a technical level, to a puddle. That's not good. She did call him sexy, though, which MWP appreciated.

(Read full post)

You want your lockout update? We got your lockout update! SI.com scribe Sam Amick has provided some of the best CBA coverage around this offseason, and was kind enough to spare us some time. Among the talking points:

PODCAST
Andy and Brian talk with SI.com's Sam Amick for the latest on the NBA labor situation. Plus, a very bizarre tale involving Nicolas Cage, an intruder and a Fudgesicle.

Podcast Listen
- Despite the recent rhetoric painting a picture of sides moving further apart, Amick is reasonably confident progress has continued. Not that we're anywhere close to being out of the woods, but as long as backward steps are avoided, that's a positive. At the very least, Amick remains hopeful a 2012 season will take place.

- Amick explains why, as a general rule of thumb, the less forthcoming either side is with specifics from meetings, the better talks are likely going.

- Is the impetus among owners for a hard cap a desire for more parity, a monetarily-driven sticking point, or a little bit of both?

- Amick isn't entirely sure why some powerful agents are pushing for decertification, but if he had to guess, it's a power play. The agents feel more confident in their negotiating skills than Billy Hunter's, and are looking to usurp his power. What Amick does know, however, is decertificaton basically guarantees a large chunk of the season lost, if not the whole kit and kaboodle. It's a nuclear option guaranteeing paperwork, court rooms and tons of red tape, none of which fares well for basketball fans.

- The importance of Derek Fisher as president of the Players Association, in terms of his relationship with players and stature around the league. Amick lays out the praise and criticism commonly lobbed at Fish. For that matter, where does Dr. Jerry Buss fit in as the league's future is being decided?

- Is it problematic role players have been the most prominent faces at the meetings, rather than stars?

- Regular podkast listeners are aware of the K Bros' penchant for anything weird involving Nicolas Cage. Thus, it would be impossible for Brian and I not to explore this recent revelation: Cage once woke up to the startling visual of an intruder wearing nothing but one of his leather jackets and eating a Fudgesicle. The tale is every bit as bizarre as it sounds.

The Triangle: Metta World Peace's odds on DWTS

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
3:35
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
With no NBA season on the immediate horizon, televised dance-offs may soon provide the only formal athletic competition involving a Laker. Similar to the post-apocalyptic worlds in science fiction movies, the future doesn't appear pretty. Still, Dancing With The Stars is a juggernaut in its own right, and as Metta World Peace explained in our recent conversation, he's taking this contest very seriously.

Can The Artist Formerly Known as Ron Artest win the whole enchilada? Brian, 710 ESPN basketball analyst Dave Miller and I mull it over.

Ron Artest is officially Metta World Peace

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
1:34
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
There was a short period during my elementary school years when I wished my parents spelled Brian with a "y" instead of an "i." I thought it looked cooler, and if given a vote on the issue would have changed it. (I've since come around on the aesthetics of Brian with an i.) I have a neighbor who, as an adult, decided her given name simply didn't fit. It felt wrong, she believed, and wasn't her. She changed it.

As he's explained it, Ron Artest-- at long last officially Metta World Peace, having paid his outstanding debts to the DMV-- had no real problems with his name, but saw changing it as a way to send a more positive message to the world.

Sure, on its face it seems a little goofy, but by all accounts MWP kicked the idea around for a few years, and it seems to reflect an evolving and healthy perspective on his role in the world. (As opposed to a straight publicity stunt.)

Almost by definition, there is little in the world more personal than a person's name, which is why so many people today will likely look at Ron Metta and shake their head. I'll choose not to... while absolutely reserving the right to shake my head at some of the other stuff he does.

Sounds fair to me.

Ron Artest on DWTS, distractions, LO, the playoffs and Mike Brown

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
5:16
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Wednesday, I caught up with Ron Artest at a Hollywood dance studio before his practice with "Dancing with the Stars" partner Peta Murgatroyd. (For DWTS fans, here is a clip of them rehearsing.) We talked for about 10 minutes about topics ranging from the show to the perception of being distracted by entertainment industry pursuits to his expectations under new/old coach Mike Brown. The conversation is below, plus I've added a few thoughts at the end.

Andy Kamenetzky: What have these workouts been like and how physically challenging are they compared to basketball?

Ron Artest: It's different because in basketball, you're running and you're getting hit. You gotta perform under a lot of stress and you gotta make baskets when you're fatigued. But with dancing, it's real routine, so it's not like you're getting hit. But it's different because it's all feet and it's all hips, and the dances change. So it's definitely good preparation for when you wanna play ball. I've been playing basketball and I sense a difference in how my feet is moving.

AK: Does it work different muscles than you normally work during an offseason?

RA: Yeah, a lot of hips. When you play basketball, if you don't feel like moving a certain way, you don't have to. But in dancing, if you don't move how you're supposed to, you're gonna look bad. So you actually gotta work your hips and you gotta work your ankles in the right direction. It's excellent.

AK: What's your approach of trying to win "Dancing with the Stars" vs. trying to win an NBA title?

RA: I mean, you're just competitive. The first day you see yourself, if you don't have no idea what you're getting into, you'll come, you'll rehearse, you'll practice, whatever, the next couple days, you practice, you'll look at yourself on tape. If you're having fun, and you see yourself and you see how bad you look, then you get competitive. And now you want to do everything the right way.

AK: You joked with Stephen A. Smith a little while back about your slim odds of winning. Some time has passed. Are you actually now in it to win it?

RA: I'm in it to win it now, because it's fun, first off. That's the best thing about basketball. It's fun. And you get a chance to compete, you know?

AK: Is this more fun than you expected?

RA: Definitely. When I first envisioned myself ever doing "Dancing With The Stars," even before this opportunity, I'm like, "No. Impossible. I'm not doing that. I could never ever move like that because it looks like a female." But now that you're actually doing it, it's not that bad, you know? So I don't know how I look right now. I'm so much into it, I just don't know. I'm sure when my friends see it, they're just gonna kill me.

AK: Can you talk about the importance of the money you're raising through "Dancing With The Stars"?

RA: Yes, yes. It's awesome, because any time you get a chance to do something and have fun, and then be inspirational, that's the perfect combination. Some people just entertain. Some people are inspirational and charitable, but they don't have the name for their mission to get out there. I'm fortunate to have both and to do both. That's the best.

AK: I know you're aware some media have wondered if "Dancing with the Stars" signals you being distracted. I'll admit, I've wondered the same thing, between this and the comedy tour and talk about British soap operas. A) where is your focus right now, and B) even if those people are wrong, do you understand why they might think that?

RA: Well, it's like, back in the days, people was able to tell you what to do with your life. But [now] people can’t tell you what do with your own life. That’s why it’s called your life and not their life. If it was their life, I would do exactly what they want me to do. But Ron Artest is a different breed.

I’ve been playing in the NBA 13 years. I’ve got a Defensive Player of the Year. Game 7 [of the 2010 NBA Finals]. "Mr. Game 7," that’s what people call me sometimes. Lockdown defender. One of the best defenders ever. Not of a decade. Not this year. But ever. [Dennis] Rodman. [Michael] Jordan. Hakeem Olajuwan. One of the best ever. So can’t nobody question who this man in front of you is.

AK: But even you admitted, back when you were with the Pacers, that trying to do music while playing basketball was distracting. Are you in a place now where you can handle it better?

RA: I won [2004] Defensive Player of the Year when I was [doing music]. I was doing music for the last 12 years. I had an album come out in 2005, still averaged 20 points. Every team still wanted me. Went to the Houston Rockets. Dropped singles. I recorded “Champion" a year before we won the championship, you know? And I wanted to do that to build my celebrity up. To entertain.

AK: So you can do both at the same time?

RA: I entertain on the court. You see me on the court. I’m never thinking about basketball. I don’t know when’s the last time I thought about basketball. Even Game 7, I was thinking about my single.

AK: Really?

RA: Damn Skippy.

AK: How do you manage to think about something completely different and play basketball?

RA: Basketball is easy. It’s easy. See, for people that don’t play, it’s hard. Because they go to the gym, old white guys and over the hill black guys that go to the gym, and they suck. Right? They suck. I go to these gyms. I see them play. For me, it’s easy.

They gotta concentrate on basketball. Basketball is the least of my worries because I work too hard. I don’t have to worry about basketball. It’s easy.

(Read full post)

Wednesday Chat Transcript

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
9:21
AM PT
By the Kamenetzky Brothers
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
As you might suspect, Tuesday's less-than-rosy reviews for the latest round of CBA talks had folks in a sour mood in today's chat. But we soldiered on, talking lockout, Kobe's window, "implosion," and more.

Here's the link to the room.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0