The Odyssey of The TruWarrier

Much was made about Ron Artest’s infamy… indeed, he probably cost the Indiana Pacers a title when he rushed into the stands to brawl with a fan who threw a cup of beer on him. There was the time in Utah, where he taunted fans who were heckling him, and ended up almost killing Andre Kirelinko and getting tossed during a playoff game. He had clashed with teammates and coaches alike. He had been on four teams in his NBA career, and every stop seemed to end in debauchery.  On top of that, the year before the Lakers signed him, Artest, then with the Rockets, was ejected from a play-off game after getting into it with Kobe Bryant and doing the “throat slash maneuver.” (Artest claims he was just reenacting the elbow that Kobe threw at him, and I agree with him).

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers


I, personally, was never worried about Artest’s behavior. The Lakers are a strong organization, led by a coach that had as many rings as he has fingers, and led by the game’s alpha male–Kobe Bryant. He was also a former Defensive Player of the Year that could guard the Carmelo Anthony’s, LeBron James’, and the Paul Pierce’s of the world. People also seemed to forget that an Artest-led Houston Rockets team advanced out of the first round for the first time in the Tracy McGrady era and gave the eventual champion Lakers the toughest challenge in the 2008 play-offs.

However, there would be no give-backs. Artest was inked for five years, and if he went down in flames, he would be untradeable. The Lakers would be stuck with him, much like the Celtics are stuck with the ghost of Rasheed Wallace for the next two years.

While the Lakers stand three wins away from their 16th title and a repeat, Artest hasn’t been without his struggles. He has struggled with his shot (and his shot selection) at times this year. He has struggled with finding his role within the complicated Triple Post offense. He decided to drop 20 pounds during mid-season to regain some of his lateral quickness.  He also admitted that he used to drink Hennessy cognac during halftimes of NBA games while he played with the Bulls. There was also the time he showed up in nothing but his boxers to do an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. There was also his Twitter rant against Phil Jackson during the play-offs. And with each misstep, the haters pointed and said, “See! I told you so!” as they eagerly awaited the “inevitable” Artest-led implosion of the Lakers.
Next: Avoiding expectations…

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