The NBA now fines players for Tweeting during games, including halftime. Damn, imagine what David Stern would've done to Ron Artest if he'd known the future Malice at the Palace star was sipping Hennessy at halftime while with the Chicago Bulls?
These and other shocking revelations from Artest are coming out in the Dec. 7 edition of the Sporting News, excerpts of which were published on the Sporting News web site Wednesday.
Among the headlines in the Sporting News interview with the controversial Lakers star:
* "I used to drink Hennessy … at halftime," Artest said. "I (kept it) in my locker. I'd just walk to the liquor store (near the stadium) and get it."
* "When I was a 19-year-old father, whew. I was a single pimp! I was wild," Artest said of his days as a college star at St. John's. "A lot of marijuana and alcohol—even before (that age). … I (still) party and I have fun, but not like I used to. I used to drink every night and party every night."
* "It wasn't my fault," he said of the 2004 brawl in Auburn Hills for which he was suspended 73 games and forfeited $7 million. "… I don't see anything I could have done different. The only thing I could have done was have God pause time so I could have said, 'Oh, look, you're about to run in some stands, so stop.'"
* "(Referee) Joey Crawford basically said, 'Who cares about the Houston Rockets? Kobe Bryant's on the floor,'" he said of the Rockets' loss to the Lakers in the '09 Western Conference semifinals.
* "It's weird because people don't think about the whole basketball game," he said of fitting in as a member of Bryant's supporting cast. "There's offense: Kobe averages 30 and is a great offensive player. Then you have defense. So on defense, now I have my supporting cast. … I'm one of the best defenders to ever play basketball, so I'm still the first option on defense."
Artest also said he's "on guard" whenever he sees Ben Wallace, whose altercation with Artest touched off the melee at the Palace. "I'm always in the mood to fight him," Artest said. "… I'll get suspended 10 games, 15 games (because) I'll just fight him right there. It won't go into the stands."
The NBA is aware of the comments, though it's unclear whether any disciplinary action is forthcoming. Clearly, the comments that will generate the most scrutiny are those about drinking during games and the refs wanting the Lakers to beat the Rockets. Already, some of Artest's former teammates and other members of the organization who were there with him are downplaying the comments , chalking them up to, "Ron being Ron," according to the Chicago Tribune.
Either way, gotta love him.