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Artest needs to grow up during offseason

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

It is going to be a long offseason for the Indiana Pacers and, most notably, Ron Artest.

Ron Artest
Ron Artest, left, needs to control his emotions on the court.
There were greater expectations for the Pacers after a successful season, but No. 3 seed Indiana fell in six games to the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

Mr. Artest should grow up. I couldn't believe it when I saw him in a shoving match with Pacers director of player personnel Mel Daniels after the Pacers were eliminated by Boston. Daniels is one of the nicest guys I've known in basketball, and he's respected in NBA circles. A great evaluator of people, Daniels dominated during his playing days in the ABA.

What happened to the Ron Artest I knew at St. John's? There is no way that can be the same kid. There's no doubt he's a great talent and a fierce competitor, but think about his ludicrous actions during the season.

There was an obscene gesture to the fans. There was the shouting and screaming incident with Miami Heat coach Pat Riley. He knocked down a fan at courtside. Artest got flagrant fouls and technicals galore, and suspensions followed.

It is time for Artest to look in the mirror and grow up.

What example is he setting for youngsters watching the Pacers? He should be sending a message about being being a man instead of acting boorishly.

Artest has plenty of time to think about the future. His offseason started earlier than he planned.

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