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

Fast forward to last night: late in the fourth quarter, the Suns have gone to a zone defense. Kobe springs to the lane, appears to be going for one of his contortionist lay-ups, but springs the ball to the corner—where a wide-open Ron Artest catches the ball.

Keep in mind: this is what will happen in the play-offs. Teams are going to clog the lanes and make Ron Artest and his erratic corner three-point shot beat them.

Artest catches the ball and stutters a bit. You can tell, he’s contemplating if he should shoot or not, and usually, Ron Artest contemplating things on the basketball court leads to bad things. The whole Suns defense basically says: “Screw it, let him have it.” And Artest, after what seemed like 3-5 seconds, hoists the ball into the air.

Splash.

I pumped my fist. Ron Artest! Yes! I never doubted ye!

It capped an 11-point, 4 rebound, 4 assist night for him. He didn’t shoot well—but it was the best game he had played this season. (At least out of the games I’ve watched).

Maybe it was just a good game and one shot against a lousy Suns team in December. Maybe, after being pushed by Phil Jackson, it could be something of a turning point. We shall see.

Next: The Bumpy Road to Glory

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