May 21, 2010, 12:39 PM EDT
Ron Artest doesn’t really like being compared to Trevor Ariza, and it turns out that Ariza feels very much the same way about being compared to Artest. In fact, Ariza engaged in a mini-debate of sorts with Daniel Artest, Ron’s brother, on Twitter, in which the two engaged in 140-character rebuttals concerning the relative merits of Artest’s game. From Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:
You can check their respective Twitter timelines (Daniel Artest’s and Ariza’s)
for the full conversation, but Ariza was annoyed in the same way as two
months ago with me at ongoing comparisons between the players. One of
the first, strong statements Ariza wrote to Daniel Artest was: “what r
u doing with ur life.”
Daniel Artest had Tweeted about Ariza: “Yea. He has the ring. But
what else besides being a role player has he done? I mean. Ron was on
All def teams, 3rd team all NBA. When he was 24(ariza age now) No
disrespect but TA hasn’t sniffed Ron career. Yes. TA did play a great
role in helpn LA win a chip but I don’t think he’ll ever be on Ron
level as far as being the man. … Let’s be honest. LA stumbled into the
playoffs. I believe that LA with TA3 wouldn’t have gotten out the first
round. KD wouldve went off.”
“Let me do me Im trying to get better Ron is a great player,” Ariza
later Tweeted to Daniel Artest. “love his game but I don’t compare what
I do to what he did at my age sorry brotha.”
…Ariza wrote later about Twitter: “Ppl are so tough on here boy ill
tell u.” But his conversation with Daniel Artest ended amicably enough,
with Artest writing to him: “I like stuff u say I just wanted to ask a
“what r u doing with ur life?” Zing!
If anyone out there was looking to argue that Twitter isn’t petty, tiffs like these put the cause back a bit. Sure, it’s just a confident athlete defending his honor against another athlete’s know-it-all brother, but why does Trevor even bother? What’s the point? It provides an interesting wrinkle for the Artest-Ariza conversation, but only because we now know just how uncomfortable the comparisons make Ariza as well.
It’s a bizarre situation in which both players feel that the other has the upper hand in terms of perceived talent and value. That makes sense, considering the basketball-viewing public so rarely builds consensus on any particular player. Ariza and Artest should find some solace in that, even as each continues to make their case as the superior player.