Blog Entry

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 8, 2009 2:15 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2009 5:57 pm

HOUSTON -- Ron Artest is enjoying the spotlight. He is speaking freely, with brutal honesty and a huge smile. And for once, the topic is something that is happening on the basketball court, not off it.

Artest was on a roll Friday at the Rockets' shootaround before Game 3, saying Kobe Bryant got away with an elbow to the throat that precipitated their verbal skirmish in Game 2 and that the referees treat him differently because of his reputation.

"I think (Bryant) knows he got away with one," Artest said. "That's the referees' job. They see the second reaction. They never see the first with me. Joey [Crawford] was doing a great job. He was involved in every play except the Kobe plays."

As for how Artest feels about being ejected for jawing with Bryant after the elbowing incident, he said, "That's not racial profiling. It's past history profiling."

That's just a preview of what Artest had on his mind in the hours before Game 3 Friday night at the Toyota Center.

UPDATE: For example: Artest called Crawford's decision to eject him "a bad ejection;" said that he told Bryant during their confrontation, "If you're gonna get out of line, I'm gonna get out of line;" and warned that he'll give the referees three chances to protect him in Game 3. And if they don't? Two things will happen, according to Artest.

Thing No. 1: "I'm gonna report it to the police," he said.

And Thing No. 2: "Then I gotta protect myself."

The league office ruled that Bryant's elbow landed in Artest's chest and not his neck, thus ruling out the possibility of suspending Bryant for Game 3. Artest had some fun with that one, too, saying, "Oh, OK. If they say so." But after Kobe's elbow, Artest's response, and Derek Fisher's hip-check to Luis Scola -- which did earn him a suspension for Game 3 -- tensions are high and threats are flowing freely in what has suddenly become the most physical and intriguing series in the conference semifinals.

The one place threats and yap aren't coming from would be Bryant's mouth. Kobe deflected all Artest-related queries at the Lakers' shootaround an hour later, but he finally caved in and offered this: "You guys know me, man. You know I don't back down from anybody. Simple as that."

It's not going to be so simple for the officiating crew: Steve Javie, Sean Corbin, and Ron Garretson. If it's any consolation, Javie was the crew chief for Game 7 of the chippy series between the Celtics and Bulls. In a series that saw Rajon Rondo slapping Brad Miller's face and throwing Kirk Hinrich into the scorer's table, cooler heads prevailed in Game 7.

"It’s just basketball, but it depends on how they want to ref the game," Artest said. "You can hit back, but are they gonna see the first one or are they gonna see the second one? ... So my team, we were just trying to play basketball, but they kept seeing the second one. So I got guys walking my players down, walking behind their back. If somebody walks behind my back, automatically I'm gonna turn around and I might smack them if somebody’s walking right behind me because that’s my natural reaction. So I mean, the referees, they should know that. I think they’re going to do a better job."

One thing about Artest: He knows how to jab you where it hurts. So he proceeded to join the chorus of arm-chair analysts who have suggested that perhaps the Lakers are overcompensating because of how the Celtics outmuscled them in the Finals last year. Except Artest said it better than that.

"Last year, what the Celtics did to them was more about manhood than basketball," Artest said. "They took their manhood. They took it right from under them."


Predictably, Lakers coach Phil Jackson had some fun with all of this while addressing the media on the Toyota Center court. 

"Oh, I don't know, there’s been a lot of that talk," Jackson said. "You have all those guys and they’re sitting at their desk speculating on what we have to do to win or not to win. But it’s about being aggressive. We’re not a heavy team. Guys like Artest, we only give up 20 or 30 pounds to him at all our spots. So he can walk guys to wherever he wants to down underneath the basket. If the referees aren’t going to call it, we have to provide support for ourselves. And that’s the way it is."

Asked if Bryant crossed the line with his elbow to Artest, Jackson said, "You know, what Kobe did happens every single game, maybe 20 times in a game. A big guy’s trying to shove a smaller guy out underneath the basket, and they’re going to have to fight for their life underneath there. It happens all the time. It’s just got a focus because of what happened. We can focus on it as a league and in the press in the playoffs, but those things happen all the time in our game. This is not a game for boys. This is a game for men."

I agree. But that doesn't mean I will deny Artest's right to use the incident as motivation.

"I think they did a good job getting us out of our game, because we were comfortable playing basketball," Artest said. "And it turned into like a fight. We've got to remember just to play basketball when it turns into a fight."

And that it will be, one way or another, in a few short hours.


Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2009 12:39 am

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

I know this thread isn't about Fisher, but it's pretty obvious that he laid out Scola for two reasons: 1) Scola is one dirty bastard of a player, and PJ wanted to send a message to the Rockets to cut out the rough stuff, so who better to clock?  2) PJ wanted to start Farmar in the next game and he TOLD D-Fish to get suspended so Farmar could play and get some confidence back without the pressure of having Fisher on the bench.  That foul was SO totally beyond the pale for anything you would expect from Fisher, who has always been one of the cleanest players in the league, that it's obvious that it was contrived, a planned event.  And it worked.  Farmar came out in game 3 and had a really nice game at both ends.  Fisher will be back in game 4, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him coming off the bench, to help stabilize the second unit, along with Odom.  Looks like the Lakers in 5 or maybe 6 games.

Since: Mar 18, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2009 9:46 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

THAT WAS A GREAT CRACKBACK. I applaud you Mr. Fisher.

Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: May 8, 2009 9:29 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

I'm not sure where you get "He's a coward" from.  I'd like to see you tell Ron to his face what a "little boy" he is.  Ron got in Kobe's face and Kobe didn't want any part of it.  He wouldn't even look at Ron.  That was probably the smartest thing Kobe has ever done, but if you're looking for MENSA-level intelligence, I think you're going to have trouble finding any in the NBA. 

No argument that Ron has a troubled "thug" past, but he's been on his best behavior this year.  Better late than never.  I can't remember him getting any technicals until last game.  Maybe he has and I missed it.  My point...Ron has come a long way since he went into the stands in Detroit.  Doesn't mean he's not tough and it doesn't mean he is going to let Kobe elbow him.  The old Ron would have literally killed Kobe the other night.

Since: May 7, 2009
Posted on: May 8, 2009 9:29 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Artest is not a thug. I know guys like Artest. Sure, he may be a little out there, but I'm sure he's usually a really nice guy. On the court, however, he just wants to win, and will do whatever is necessary to make that happen. As a Rockets fan I realize how unpredictable he is, but Rockets fans have realized that we can count on him to give 100% every night, good and bad. He is not a dirty player. He still has a bad reputation for his past. If not for the Pacers-Pistons brawl, people would LOVE this guy and his unpredictability. As a Rockets fan I could not be happier to have him on this team.

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: May 8, 2009 8:55 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

oh, kstacey, you were off to such a good start. I was about to present you with the fictional award for "most accurate comment ever posted in my blog" -- that being, "Some guys calculate what they do. However, Artest sincerely has no idea what he is going to do from one minute to the next." Bingo ... you nailed it! But then you had to ruin it with the thug stuff. Not cool.

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2009 8:42 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Ron Artest is a thug...always has been, probably always will be.  He's a coward, and he's also a disgrace to the sport of basketball.  Guy should be playing basketball in a prison yard and not in the NBA.  I think it's hilarious how he has to talk himself up to make himself "appear" tough.  He also thinks he's a man.  Sorry, Ron, you aren't a man at all.  You're a little boy who forgot to grow up and be a man. 

Here's a guy who loves to dish it out, but he can't take it.  That's what makes him a coward and a wuss.  I feel sorry for the Rockets, because I actually like that team.  They don't a criminal like Artest on it. 

Kobe will let his game speak for him.  Keep trying, Ron...'cause you'll never stop him, and like he said, "I don't back down from anyone."

Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: May 8, 2009 8:06 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

I'd put money on that one for sure.  Artest vs Odom.  Ha.  I'll take Ron with a KO in the first round.  Who do the Lakers have that's actually tough?  Who is gonna deliver said "ass whooping"?  Nobody comes to mind.  I guess Fisher is your enforcer??? 

I'm pretty sure the Rockets are going to try and stay away from fights tonight and focus on basketball.  So far, they've done very well against LA, outside of the first quarter of game 2...when the game was about basketball.  Once it got out of control, Houston lost it's composure and the game was over.  I will say, Kobe has been feast or famine so far.  Game one he was terrible and Game two he was on fire.  If he plays game three somewhere in the middle, I'll consider that a success for the Rockets. 

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2009 8:05 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

I lost all respect for Artest when he started whining to the media after the game. Sure I'm a lakers fan, sure he was right to get up in Kobe's face. The fact thou that he whined like a little biyiyitch to the media after the fact and now want to act like a thug talking all that talk. You know Artest aint street when you gotta "talk" about what your going to do. Just do it .

Kobe is playing tricks with Artest and he isn't even trying. Artest let Kobe get in his head and that'w why at the end of the day Kobe 1 - Artest 0.

Since: Nov 11, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2009 7:23 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

Give me a break you myopic Laker fans. Sure Artest is well known in the league for all his past troubles. But you people need to do some serious history checking of the facts in regards to on the court skirmishes involving and initiated by Mr. Kobe Bryant. His record is far from clean. Around the leagues he is known as a dirty player who the refs often give the benefit of the doubt due to his superstar image.
Don't forget the NBA DID give a flagrant foul on Kobe on that play, despite the refs not even calling a foul on the play.In 2000 Kobe earned a 1 game Suspension for punching a Knick player.In 2002 Kobe was Suspended 2 games for punching Reggie Miller.In 2006 Kobe received 2 different Suspensions for shoving his shooting arm in the face of 2 different players on 2 different teams.And there are other incidents mixed in over the years.
The point is, Artest is the wrong guy for Kobe to pull this crap on, because Artest is the kind of unstable guy who will lose it and take Kobe out on the court...and the refs won't be able to protect him. 

Since: Apr 29, 2007
Posted on: May 8, 2009 7:02 pm

Artest: There's Kobe, then there's me (UPDATE)

I love Ron Artest. He is a complete loose cannon. Some guys calculate what they do. However, Artest sincerely has no idea what he is going to do from one minute to the next. If the ref had not stepped in between he and Kobe I think Artest would have knocked Kobe out, literally. I would love to see Artest go into the stands again. That was just crazy, and he just might if he hears someone say the wrong thing. This guy is a street thug in an NBA uniform. (and no that was not a racist comment before some of you get all excited).

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