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NBA Finals Lakers Celtics Game 7: "Crazy Pills" Ron Artest validates loonies everywhere with championship performance

Jun 18, 2010, 2:55 AM EDT

artestwins.jpgIn his uniform, with confetti raining down upon him in his first moments as an NBA championship, Ron Artest thanked his therapist. 

Of course he did. 
The man known as ‘Crazy Pills’ became something more in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, knocking down clutch shot after clutch shot, playing within himself, and finally obtaining the redemption he’d set out to obtain, just by playing basketball. 
All season long, Artest spoke of how much he wanted to please his teammates. It was visible. After his game winning tip in Game 5 of the Lakers series versus the Phoenix Suns, he immediately leapt into Kobe’s arms. He wanted to fit in. He wanted to be accepted. He wanted to be loved. 
This for a man that sunk the Pacers with his reckless behavior and selfishness, from the guy who shot the Kings into the tank, and who pulled the rug out from under the Rockets by overshooting when they needed him most. And he had decided to commit himself fully to the Lakers, to bring a championship to LA (again). He came to Kobe in the shower after the 2008 series and offered his services (while under contract with another team, I might add). He always knew it was LA that would give him his redemption. 
Artest had his moments of goathood in this series. Famously, the Yakety Sax game was a low point. But in a game where Kobe Bryant shot 6 of 24 from the field and the Lakers’ offense looked like roadkill for three quarters of the game, it was Artest who routinely and solidly came through. At one point, Artest nabbed a key offensive rebound, centered, and nailed the putback over the defender’s arms. Then with the game in question after a huge Rajon Rondo three to cut the lead to three, Artest responded with a three of his own, blowing the roof off the Staples Center (figuratively; the Lakers fans would try and do it literally later). 
Artest changed everything about his career tonight. He went from the rogue lunatic who could sabotage his teammates just as quickly as he could lock down on his assignment, to the lovable loon, holding a “Wheaties” box in the presser and going to the club in his jersey. A championship redefines your career, and this one will do the work for Artest. His eccentric personality and quirks will seem like the bizarre textures of a quirky but brilliant championship player, rather than the proof that some players are too “out there” to succeed. He’s also validated the idea that if you’re on the fringe of the NBA and want to win a championship, head to LA. 
Artest’s defensive work, combined with his championship ring, and notoriety, may be enough to eventually land him in the hall, especially if he can help the Lakers back next season. Even if he doesn’t make it there, he’ll have his share of NBA lore complete with brilliant post-game press conference (which we’ll bring you notes of later; just know it was something to behold). 
Artest’s transformation is complete, from the Man That Started the Malice to the Kook Who Spoiled the Truth. Ron Artest’s crazy ride continues. 
  1. Lakers4Lyfe - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    I’m really disappointed in Kobe. In all of his post-game interviews, I didn’t see him credit Ron-Ron for the win. It was Artest, from start to finish … who played that game all out … without rest and sinking key shots. Ron Artest won that game — solo. He was definatley the MVP of game 7. You go Ron. No one in LA will ever question you again.
    And good article.

  2. Sheila G. - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    Ron Ron Im so happy for you. Last year ur 1st yr with the Lakers you sat back and dream of this day. YOU DID GREAT WHEN IT COUNTED.
    U R THE MVP 4 SHO.

  3. syx - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:08 AM

    wow, another person found something else to be mad at kobe. I’m sure this is not the first thing you mad about or the last. go lakers.

  4. Lakers4Lyfe - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:03 AM

    @syx … Kobe owes Ron Artest more than $1 million for that performance tonight and getting key steals (5) and sinking key shots, put backs and rebounds and scoring 20 points when Kobe himself said he couldn’t shoot a jumper into the ocean off a boat. But he never gave Ron credit. That’s all I’m sayin’.
    Cut the check, Kobe. You owe Ron. I watched Ron all year long … in every game on channel 9 in LA, home and away. He lived through the — do-you-miss-Ariza-yet crap. Ron stepped up and took it to the paint and made 3’s when no one else could sink anything. The least Kobe could do was mention Artest in his interviews, not just Gasol.

  5. louis - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    Bravo RON!
    You are the MAN. You deserve it. Be Proud of yourself.
    Go Lakers.rx

  6. kwc - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    Absolutely right! MVP in game 7 is about as “big” as one can play. Take away Ron’s 1st half scoring when nearly everyone else was missing shot after shot, and LA likely gets blown out (credit Wallace with a lot of that). Kobe needs to pass that MVP trophy around!

  7. DonDon - Jun 18, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Of all the great Laker players, I am most happy and most proud of Ron Artest. His play throughout the year and throughout the championship run was a veritable song of redemption. He showed that hard work, determination and a willingness to forget his past demons and focus on his goals can work for anyone. He manned up, played team ball and carried the Lakers when they needed him the most. To me, he was the MVP, not taking anything away from the heroics of Kobe, Gasol, D-Fish or the other Lakers who contributed. RonROn, we love you!! Keep it up!

  8. tb - Jun 18, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    I’ll give you the Pacers, but Ron didn’t harm the Kings, they just wanted to go younger. Again, same story with the Rockets, everyone talked about his good behavior.
    Don’t get me wrong, crazy as all get out, but to say he tanked the Kings or pulled the rug out from the Rockets is bs. You’re just making something up to help prove your point. He made both of those teams better and the Rockets could have made the playoffs this year had they held on to him. Again, for both teams, it was about getting younger and not about winning now.

  9. Kayoss - Jun 18, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    Seriously did you have to say, “He came to Kobe in the shower after the 2008 series and offered his services.”????? Proof read your own damn article and make sure that it dont come off the wrong way.
    Congratz to Ron, I always thought he was a great basketball player when he played against the Lakers in the playoffs of 2009. I was happy when i found out that the Lakers have aquired him and at the point I knew the Lakers will win another championship. Now all he need to do is practice is shots during the off season and with his defense he would be unstoppable.

  10. LakerfanDean - Jun 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    I must admit,that I was missing Ariza,for most of the postseason.However,Artest proved his mettle,when the team needed him most.His performance in last night’s game, speaks volumes of his overall ability!!!

  11. Why hate Kobe? - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Why does everything turn into a hatefest on Kobe?
    Kobe “owes” Ron? He needs to cut him a check? Pass the trophy around?
    Let’s be clear: Ron Artest has a phenomenal individual effort in game 7 that galvanized the team when it needed most. That being said, he still ended up with less points and boards that Kobe.
    Also, isn’t Ron on the payroll of the Los Angeles Lakers? Isn’t this type of performance what he was signed on to do? Would he have even had a shot at this without Kobe’s heroics in all the Western series and earlier in this series vs. the Celtics?
    Great job, Ron. You did well. Let’s leave it at that.
    This performance doesn’t diminish anything that Kobe has done all season long. And it also doesn’t make Artest the next great one. It just goes to show that everyone needs a team.
    After all, even Jordan needed Rodman….

  12. Omnius - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Ron Artest was the MVP of game 7 hands down. In the first half when the other Lakers couldn’t make a shot to save themselves Ron Ron scored 15 big points that kept the Lakers in the game. Phil Jackson was correct to call Ron Ron the MVP of game 7. I found it interesting in a post game interview that Ron Ron said he didn’t have a drink since December, now it all makes sense how he got his head dinged from a fall at home after the Christmas Day loss – he was drunk. I loved how Phil Jackson got Ron Ron to lose weight, he said that Ron was wearing cement shoes and Ron got the message to drop 20 pounds. Artest is truly a champion who has found his home with Phil as coach and Kobe as his mentor. It was good for Ron to have Lamar there as an old childhood friend and Fisher as an older mentor. Ron was the perfect trade that Kupchak made to ensure that the Lakers could beat the Celtics, Ariza was perfect for beating the Magic but not against the Celtics.

  13. SpankYoMonkey - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    i live in houston and an a die hard piston fan. artest has crossed my path a couple times. love the guy or hate the guy .. he is hard nails tough, wants to win badly, crazy good defender …. won the championship for the lakers.

  14. FAITH - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    That was the only thing in the game that I was disappointed in that Kobe didn’t give Ron the praise he should have because he keep them in the game. But Ron got his ring because of Kobe getting him there so I can forgive him (kobe).

  15. LA4life - Jun 20, 2010 at 2:45 AM

    No question about it, we don’t win the 2010 championship without RonRon. I’m so happy for him. He showed he’s a great teammate by continuing to work his butt off all season despite having to change his offense to spot up jumpshooter. His defense was great despite Paul Pierce claiming it didn’t play a part. Paul Pierce would have had his way with Ariza. Yes Kobe is still the man but on this particular day Ron Artest was the toast of the town!

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