Skip to content

Ron Artest is far more self-aware than you gave him credit for

Aug 1, 2010, 2:30 PM EDT

rartest_postgame.jpgRon Artest may or may not be crazy, you can make the call on that. But the man is not simple.

As fans we tend to think of professional athletes as two dimensional, and we tend to care far more about what they do at their job than we do about them as people. We like to fit them into neat, stereotypical boxes and leave them there, even if that is not the truth.

We are drawn to the players and people who don’t fit in those boxes. In truth, not a lot of players do, but most keep the other parts of their lives — family, relationships, problems — out of the spotlight, so we just see the parts that fit our preconceived notions.

Some players blow that box up. Artest is one of those, and as such he’s been labeled as crazy. But it would be a better world if more people were as self-aware as he is.

That’s what comes across in a fascinating Q&A in the latest ESPN the Magazine. Which starts with his answer to the question “are you crazy?”

What’s crazy? You need to decide. On Twitter you could say I’m pretty crazy, or you could say I just have a weird sense of humor. Off the court you could say I’m pretty crazy, or you could say I’m just ghetto. On the court you could say I’m pretty crazy, or you could say I just play really hard. To each person, I could be a different person. So you need to decide. Of course, there have been times when I’ve done crazy things. But I don’t think I’m crazy. I just grew up in a crazy world.

Artest is frank about the problems in his past, including the impact of his parents divorce.

Alcohol was part of the problem. At 15 I started to get twisted, and at 16 I was getting lit up on a regular basis. By the time the Bulls drafted me, I’d drink in the house all day, then go play a game. But I stopped drinking heavily in Sacramento. I’m sure I wouldn’t have made the same mistakes if I hadn’t been drinking. Was I crazy, or was I not sober enough to have a clear mind? That’s the question.

He also talks about sobering up and what he has learned from counseling.

Every time we talked about my problems — at home, in my life, whatever — it would always come back to basketball. She helped me realize that. So we mostly talked about basketball. We talked about my moves, my shot, and how all of the pressure I felt about my game was interfering with the rest of my life. Like, I found out that an argument with my wife was because I had a bad game, and I had a bad game because Coach Jackson was getting on my nerves. I’d bring that stress back home. It was a cycle. Dr. Santhi (Periasamy) said, “Solve the basketball problems, and you’ll solve the rest.” Now, I can take the pressure, the anxiety, the heat from the media and fans, and it doesn’t faze me. I don’t rush anymore. I’m not anxious for a game, or to get my shot. Everything will come to me. Dr. Santhi helped me figure that out.

Phil Jackson still gets under his skin. He loves Indiana. He makes up his own motivational quotes. Really should go read the Q&A, because Artest doesn’t fit neatly into this post, either.

  1. Ed C. - Aug 1, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    After the ‘Malice at the Palace’ incident my opinion was that Artest should have been banned from the NBA. I was definately an Artest hater due to the fact he acted like a punk instead of a “PROFESSIONAL” basketball player with the world watching. I thought “Now here is someone who obviously doesn’t appreciate the blessing that God has given him. Doesn’t he know how many people in the world wish they were him and here he is squandering a blessing away.”
    When I heard that he decided to join MY team (The Los Angeles Lakers) I was in shock! Why in the hell did they do this I asked myself, I never thought that Ron could leave the “Hood” part of himself off the court and conducting himself like a respectable member of a 16 time champion Los Angeles Laker team.
    I was dead wrong, and in fact, couldn’t have been more wrong. LA loves Ron Ron and so do I.

  2. Ed C. - Aug 1, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    After the ‘Malice at the Palace’ incident my opinion was that Artest should have been banned from the NBA. I was definately an Artest hater due to the fact he acted like a punk instead of a “PROFESSIONAL” basketball player with the world watching. I thought “Now here is someone who obviously doesn’t appreciate the blessing that God has given him. Doesn’t he know how many people in the world wish they were him and here he is squandering a blessing away.”
    When I heard that he decided to join MY team (The Los Angeles Lakers) I was in shock! Why in the hell did they do this I asked myself, I never thought that Ron could leave the “Hood” part of himself off the court and conducting himself like a respectable member of a 16 time champion Los Angeles Laker team.
    I was dead wrong, and in fact, couldn’t have been more wrong. LA loves Ron Ron and so do I.

  3. J.p. - Aug 2, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    “And let’s not forget about Céline Dion.”
    That’s a winning quote right there.

  4. Omnius - Aug 2, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    Ron Ron isn’t crazy, he just lets his heart hang from his sleeve for all to see. I’m glad that as Artest has aged he has gotten more mature and he tried very hard to figure out his problem, drinking, and worked to improve himself. I’m glad Artest is a Laker and look forward to next season and postseason as he now knows how the triangle offense works and has become that lockdown defender the Lakers need. Look for the Repeat World Champion Lakers to Threepeat next June!

  5. Xavier - Aug 2, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    I hardly paid any attention to him before the post-game7 interview.
    I know it is incredible, but for me the important was the court, his D being the sharpest… and that’s it really!
    Ok his poor shot selection is an issue, and he should really learn (never too late), but he did ok for us and helped us when needed.
    This article is nicely written. Anyway, people don’t usually go crazy on either their first-last year of contract… You can see that many of the players tagged ‘crazy’, are still rational and know their numbers.
    So in the end, Artest has to step up on the court, I don’t care about what he does outside, as far as it doesn’t have ANY negative impact on his or the team’s performance.

  6. wen mew - Aug 2, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    i met ron a month before the finals at RAW, a veggie restaurant in santa monica. he was very nice. i gave him my cd
    http://www.musiconlinealive.com/moa/album/sundaymorning/home.moa
    he told me he was a rapper and that he was itune. i’m on itunes too!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Handing out NBA's postseason awards
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Williams (3768)
  2. D. Wade (3752)
  3. K. Love (3717)
  4. L. James (3710)
  5. S. Curry (3518)
  1. C. Anthony (3279)
  2. R. Rondo (3134)
  3. G. Dragic (3027)
  4. R. Westbrook (3012)
  5. K. Durant (2882)