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Artest still regrets “bailing out” on Pacers

Dec 16, 2010, 7:28 PM EDT

Artest Bird

Ron Artest was once the most infamous player in the NBA. Now he’s a world champion, a fan and media favorite, and a philanthropist. However, none of the good things that Artest has done on and off the court in the last few years have made him feel any better about how things ended for him in Indiana. Bob Kravitz of the Indiana Star has the story:

Even as he continues to bask in the glory of his first NBA championship, Artest lives with deep remorse over how it all came down in Indiana.

“A coward, I was a coward,” Artest said before Wednesday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Pacers. “When you do coward stuff, you feel like a coward. I don’t care if it was done intentionally or by mistake, you’re still a coward. I don’t care how young I was. That’s not an excuse.”

Artest admits that his mental health issues were a major cause of the problems he had in Indiana, and is trying to help other people, especially kids, get the kind of help he needed to fix his problems:

What Artest wants is for kids, troubled kids, to have the same access to necessary therapy he has been blessed to receive.

“It’s cost me $75,000 to fix my problems,” he said with a laugh. “How many people have 75 grand? I want more therapists and counselors in the schools. I want people, especially our kids, to get the help they need, and to be properly diagnosed by professionals.”

It’s great that Artest has gotten to such a good place, both personally and professionally. It’s just a bummer for Indiana fans that Artest had to go through rough times with the Pacers before getting his life together while playing for other teams.

  1. willeyb296 - Dec 16, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Artest is a scab and will always be a scab. The Pacers are still trying to recover from the wreckage he left behind.

  2. davidly - Dec 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM

    Sheer nonsense. Artest is not and has never been a scab, and the Pacers have moved on.

    Your two sentences reveal two things about yourself, however. 1) You like to pick at scabs instead of letting them heal properly and 2) you wish you had been the idiot who threw that beer in the Palace.

  3. willeyb296 - Dec 17, 2010 at 7:09 AM

    Yes, you are correct that the Pacers have moved on but that scar will always be there. I know a lot of Pacer fans would have like to known what could have been if this scab had not gone up in the stands that nite(if you watch the video he even goes after the wrong guy). Trust me davidly, the fans have not forgotten what this scab did to them and their team.

    • davidly - Dec 17, 2010 at 8:23 AM

      As a Pacers fan, I disagree. Believe me, I’ve watched that video more than a few times and every single time I get the same sick feeling in my gut for the guy who we all suspected was unstable, and as he did his damnedest to calm down, take a breath, so to speak…

      …at this most vulnerable moment, he was hit, and he snapped. I don’t condone what he did, but I understand it – for had I been next to the guy who threw that cup, I guarantee that the wrong guy wouldn’t have been gone after.

      But, at the end of the day, maybe the incident put Artest on the right path. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t put the concept of sports fan-dom ahead of human empathy and redemption.

      Trust me willeyb296, the fans are not some monolith who feel the way you do. I know plenty of Pacers enthusiasts who believe that the kind of thinking expressed over your last two comments has everything to do with you and how you think you’ve been wronged, and nothing to do with the Pacers destiny.

      The scab of which you speak is imaginary, willeyb296. Keep pickin’ all you want. It won’t change a thing.

  4. willeyb296 - Dec 17, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    I know many Pacers fans that feel the same way I do. If you look at the talent that team had and all the potential that could have been and it was all destroyed by that one incident. The other thing that I remember most vividly is when Artest was giving an interview out in front of Conseco to a reporter. Artest was more worried about his rap album and if it was going to be the next big thing rather than about the team that was paying him. The thing that kills me most is that the team had the talent to be serious contenders in the east and could have been dangerous in the playoffs for a few years.

    In the end the Pacers paid the price for have these thugs and scabs on the team (Jackson and Artest to be most specific) Both are very good players but when you have the potential for the volatility these players have I just do not think the price is worth it. They tried to build the team around these two (along with O’Neal) and it blew up in their face. The aftermath is what we have today,, the Pacers still trying to build a contender and struggling to do so. As Pacer fans lets both hope that guys like Grainger and Hibbert can be solid building blocks and one day lead the team to sucess.

    I honestly hope Artest is over his little “mental” breakdown he had with the Pacers but I highly doubt it. I remember being excited when the Pacers acquired him along with Mercer and Miller. Now I wish it never had happened. Maybe they could have gone in another direction and been a lot better off then they are today.

    • davidly - Dec 18, 2010 at 2:14 AM

      Why would you want to win with thugs and scabs?

  5. sportsinhd - Dec 17, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Sure, Artest did something stupid, but the fault never lied entirely with him. The security at the Palace was to blame, Ben Wallace shoving people under the basket and escalating the venom in that arena. The ignorant fan who threw that beverage at Artest. There were many factors at play. What always bothered me was David Stern’s over-reaction. Had that been a Laker who ran up into the stands, the suspension would have been for weeks or a month, but not for a season.

    The Pacers had the best team in the NBA that season, and never got to prove it.

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