Phil Jackson, Ron Artest, and the Never-Ending Quest for Motivation

I can’t lie: I miss the old Ron Artest.

The guy swigging Hennessey at half-time? Sounds like a guy I’d want in my fox-hole. The guy whocan be enraged to the point of starting a brawl in an arena of 20,000 people? Sounds like a guy I want behind me during a banger. Personally, I loved every minute of it. He may have butchered the Pacers franchise, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t cheering on Ron Artest as he charged that sucker who got caught with cement shoes. (Besides, Pacers fans don’t even exist. I think they were just actors David Stern paid to make the world believe he would actually award a franchise to Indiana).

Act as if you didn’t watch that YouTube clip at least 20 times. (I’d watch the clip of when Jermaine O’Neal dumped that stiff white guy with a stiff black right hand 1000 times before I’d watch a UFC fight, but that’s just me. And any Lakers fan would too—just imagine him gleefully celebrating on the ashes of the Kobe-Lakers dynasty—and you’re telling me that didn’t up the enjoyment of the video by at least 13%?)

But you know who doesn’t miss the old Ron Artest? The NBA at-large.

Ron Artest used (and hell, still probably is) the baddest dude in the NBA. He could guard wing players and bang in the post. He was a monster. If you’ve ever played pick-up basketball—and played against a guy that smells like gin and seems willing to knock your teeth out for every loose ball—Ron Artest was that guy in a 6’8” frame and in the NBA. NOBODY was messing with Artest.

Artest, at his best, transformed all the chaos into just being an all-around intimidating player. There wasn’t a way he COULDN’T go about influencing a game on any given night. When Artest was at his craziest, paradoxically, he was playing his best basketball.

Obviously, the Lakers couldn’t have Ron guzzling Hennessy at half-time of their games. They couldn’t let the Artest-train barrel off the tracks and take the Lakers team with them. It was a calculated risk, and at the end of the day, the Lakers trusted the strength of their organization to rein Artest in. And that they did.

Next: The Motivational Tactics of Phil Jackson

You May Also Like

LeBron James Passes Kobe Bryant For Most Points Scored By Player In 15th Season Or Later

One of the things that truly made Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant great was how high his level of play remained…

Top 10 Andrew Bynum Pictures from 2011-12 NBA Season

Andrew Bynum had a stellar season for the Los Angeles Lakers, and…

Steve Blake: Chris Kaman More Dynamic On Pick And Roll Than Dwight

Last season was Steve Blake’s finest season as a Laker. With both…

Best of the Week: October 10 – October 16

Here is a quick look back at some of the biggest stories…