Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction said it best, “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character.” When I apply this quote to Lakers small forward Ron Artest I sit back and wonder. Clearly Ron-Ron is one of the most outrageous personalities to have ever played in professional basketball but is there more to him than a collection of out of control moments and crazy antics?
Artest, or Metta World Peace as he will soon be known, has never been accused of being a model citizen. In fact there was a spell there during his NBA career where if you thought of the perfect athlete role model, then pictured the exact opposite, an image of Ron Artest would probably pop up in your mind. Consider the assortment of misadventures that Artest has been a party to since entering the league:
First there was the summer before his rookie season when Artest applied for a job at Circuit City so he could receive the employee discount (he thought it would be fun). The years that followed included multiple suspensions for fighting and elbows, a destroyed television monitor, a verbal on court spat with Pat Riley and a middle finger to the Miami fans (I can’t imagine why).
Of course we all remember Artest’s most notorious incident , The Malace in the Palace. We remember that crazy look in his eye after the beer cup landed on him and the ugliness that followed as he barreled into the stands. But for my money that’s not even the low point in Ron’s sorted history.
For me it would be in 2007 when he was charged with a series of misdemeanors stemming from a domestic incident and plead no contest to corporal injury to a spouse. He was sentenced to community service and was temporarily restrained from seeing his wife and kids. Personally, no matter how bad my work life might be, I can’t imagine anything more humiliating than being barred from seeing the ones I love.
I suppose it goes without saying that Artest is no stranger to controversy and so when he signed with the Lakers in 2009 there were many voices who wondered aloud if he was just going to bring his baggage with him and perhaps tear down the defending champs in the process.
Next: Turning The Beat Around