I hated Ron Artest.
Plain and simple, five and a half years ago after what happened in Detroit, there was not a single athlete outside of anyone in a Yankees uniform that I could loathe more. He was a selfish, waste of talent headcase that deserved nothing more than to be stripped of all the money he had been given and allocated to a cardboard box.
Five years ago I felt that way, four years ago I felt that way, hell, even two weeks ago I felt that way. Then, in the mother of all abominations, the Celtics blew a game they controlled and let the Los Angeles Lakers claim the 2010 NBA title. I hate him during the fourth quarter, I hated him when the buzzer sounded. Then, redemption.
I’m not one of those people who likes seeing the calm composure of someone like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant win a ring. They say cliches, they look like they’re being programmed by David Stern, they look like idiot puppets. I’m more of the lot who likes to see Kevin Garnett frighten children everywhere by screaming at lights, that’s entertaining, that’s the human elemen, that’s real. That, is Ron Artest.
Artest, in what will go down as the best game interview since Joe Namath asked for a threesome with Jack Daniel’s and Suzy Colbert, thanked the following: the hood (QUEENSBRIDGE!), his doctor, his shrink (yes, he has both) and then plugged his latest single from his forthcoming rap album.
Artest lost it, he looked and sounded as certifiable as he actually is. And it was great redemption. People can talk about steroids, betting scandals, cheating on wives all they want, but Artest was villified, and rightfully so, for climbing into the stands and beating a fan.
Now, Artest is a NBA Champion using his moment of redemption to plug his rap single. I love it, it’s the human element of sport.