Tag:Ron Artest
Posted on: April 26, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 2:25 pm

Lakers F Ron Artest wins NBA citizenship award

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest is the winner of the 2010-2011 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. Posted by Ben Golliver. ron-artest

Ron Artest wins the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. That only sounds like a headline from The Onion if you haven't been paying attention this season, as Artest has established himself as one of the most committed and public fundraisers in the NBA. 

Artest's issue of interest is mental health awareness and his good deeds are almost too many to name. He donated a significant portion of his salary. He raffled off his only championship ring. He met with Congressional lawmakers in D.C. to discuss the issue (via the Orange County Register).

Here's an excerpt from the NBA's press release.
Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers is the 2010-11 recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award is named for the second commissioner of the league and honors an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community. 
Artest won for his tireless efforts to promote awareness of mental health, including fund-raising, appearing before Congress in support of Mental Health in Schools Act and his all-around advocacy on the issue. Artest also raffled off his 2010 Championship Ring, raising more than $650,000 for mental health awareness, and took part in a public service announcement in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. 
“Ron has such a passion for the issue, and has demonstrated such leadership he was a perfect choice for such a prestigious award,” said Doug Smith of the Toronto Star and president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association. “His work embodies the kind of dedication to important causes that NBA players have become known for.” 
As we wrote back in December... 
If you tried to tell people in 2004 that the Ron Artest who fought with fans in the stands during a game in Detroit would provide the NBA's best Christmas story of 2010, they would have scoffed. That Artest has gone so far above and beyond in his maturation and awareness of his role as a public figure deserves all the praise in the world. 
In a league known for its copycat culture, here's hoping Artest's actions inspire his fellow players to pursue creative, far-reaching charitable contributions on issues that matter to them.
Artest becomes the first Laker to win the award since Magic Johnson in 1991-1992. Michael Cooper was also a winner in 1985-1986. Last year's winner was Samuel Dalembert of the Philadelphia 76ers for his work raising money for relief efforts in his native Haiti.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 17, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 4:59 pm

Lakers G Kobe Bryant injures neck during Game 1

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant went down with an apparent neck injury just before halftime of Game 1 against the New Orleans Hornets. Posted by Ben Golliver.

In the closing seconds of the first half of Game 1 against the New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hit a fallaway jumpshot in the left corner to cut New Orleans' lead to 52-44. His momentum carried him to the floor, where he slid backwards into the courtside seats. Bryant's neck contacted one of the seats with some force and he lay facedown on the ground, motionless, as the Hornets went up the court for their offensive possession.

After Hornets guard Chris Paul hit a three pointer, Lakers forward Ron Artest hit a halfcourt heave to close out the first half, 55-47. Bryant remained on the ground as the half ended and, once the buzzer sounded, Lakers staffers rushed to attend to Bryant, who was slow to get up but eventually walked off under his own power. 

During halftime, the Orange County Register reported that Bryant was diagnosed with a "bruised neck, according to Lakers PR." ABC reported that Bryant is "pretty sore" but that he did not undergo any X-Rays or further testing. Bryant is expected to play in the second half.

Here's video of what was a heart-stopping scene for Lakers fans.

Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: April 12, 2011 11:28 am

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant says this year's Lakers are in a better spot than last year's version. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant

On Monday, we argued that the Los Angeles Lakers are still the favorites to come out of the Western Conference -- despite their five-game losing streak -- because they possess the most talented and tested group among the West's elite. For the Lakers, though, it appears to be less about how they stack up to their competition this season rather than how they compare to last year's title-winning group. 

Indeed, Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant tells the LA Times that he's not worried about the team's recent struggles because this year's team is in a better spot than last year's.  
"Everybody wants to put the nail in the coffin," Kobe Bryant said. "We've all been there before." 
"Last year we didn't know what the hell was going on," Bryant said. "We had a lot of injuries. My knee needed to be operated on. A lot of question marks.
"Here we really don't have any question marks. These are executional things, these are correctable things. From that standpoint, we all feel comfortable about it. You don't even see anybody here feeling like it's doom and gloom because these are problems that can be corrected and will be corrected."
A few of last year's question marks, in addition to Bryant's knee, included center Andrew Bynum's health, the integration of Ron Artest into the Lakers' system and how Derek Fisher would fare against the West's elite point guards. 

Is Bryant right to say that this year's group has less question marks? Without a doubt. A fully healthy Bryant, even if he's a year older, outweighs all other concerns, especially because the rest of the Lakers' core -- Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Bynum, Artest -- remains intact. There are still questions about Artest's role but he clearly proved his worth during the post-season last year and Bynum has been playing some of the best ball of his career over the last few months.

The biggest question for this year's team was a concern last year too: motivation. The Lakers closed last season 4-7 in their last 11 games and have lost five straight this year. But, just like last season, they enjoyed a dominant stretch in March that should ease those concerns. Last year, the Lakers won seven straight in March; this year, LA ran off 12 victories in 13 games in March. LA has already clinched the Pacific Division title and should they win out -- against the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings -- they'll finish with an identical record to last season: 57-25. We know how that turned out: the Lakers went 16-7 on their way to a second consecutive title.

In other words, don't bury the Lakers yet.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 4:21 pm

Road to the Finals: Los Angeles Lakers

Can the Los Angeles Lakers survive the Western Conference for their chance at a three-peat? Posted by Ben Golliver.

The last thing that the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans are thinking about on Monday is the NBA Finals. The team has lost five straight for the first time in years, getting outrun by the slowest team in the NBA (the Portland Trail Blazers) on Friday night and out-executed down the stretch by a bunch of youngsters (the Oklahoma City Thunder) on Sunday. It’s never panic time when you’re the most talented and most tested team in the NBA, but things feel a lot different in mid-April than they did as recently as March, when the Lakers looked unbeatable, running off nine straight wins and briefly making a push for the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.

To his credit, Lakers coach Phil Jackson is saying all the right things, calling out his players’ professionalism in Portland, saying that any talk of the Finals is “ludicrous” and stating very simply according to ESPNLA.com : “We're not concerned with anything in the Eastern Conference at all. Nothing.” Jackson didn’t win any of his 11 NBA titles as a coach by looking ahead, and he certainly isn’t going to jeopardize his run at a fourth three-peat by allowing his players to skip a step.

While it’s Jackson’s job to keep the focus tight, it’s our job to break out the wide angle lens. And the panoramic view of the Western Conference still looks much like it has for the three seasons: It’s the Lakers, and then everybody else. Whether you prefer a more subjective approach or a numbers-based outlook, the Lakers make dominant arguments.

LA sports the league’s fiercest competitor, Kobe Bryant, who at 32 years old is still cranking out 25 points per game and maintaining his 45% percent or better shooting percentage for the sixth straight season. He’s the best one-on-one offensive player in the Western Conference and he lives for the moment. His resume says it all: five rings, two Finals MVPs, countless game-winners. The Lakers’ story starts and ends with his ability to impose his will on both ends of the court, extract maximum effort from his teammates and make the key plays down the stretch.

Inside, the Lakers have the best trio of bigs in the game: Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Each has his weaknesses: Bynum is slow in transition, Gasol gets knocked for being soft and floating and Odom has dealt with questions about his consistency and focus for years. But together they are an overwhelming force, particularly when L.A.’s ball movement is humming. Gasol, who averaged 18.8 points and 10.1 rebounds, is a multi-dimensional threat, a skilled, fluid, long big man who is a nightmare match-up for all of the other top Western Conference teams. Bynum fills the space-eating and finish-at-the-rim roles well, while Odom can attack off the dribble, make effort plays defensively and gives L.A. some versatility in defending combo forwards.

The Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, Odom core is supplemented by Ron Artest – a physical wing who excels at playoff head games and making stars uncomfortable – and veteran guards Derek Fisher and Steve Blake – a heady, tested floor general and a knockdown shooter. Toss in Shannon Brown for some backcourt athleticism off the bench and Matt Barnes for more bullying hijinks and that’s the squad.

Road To The Finals

This group is the West’s favorite because they can beat you in every way. The Lakers are the No. 7 offense in the league through Sunday, a number that’s a little misleading because they’ve slipped a bit during this recent slide. Make no mistake: they can carve you up or pound it down your throat on any given night. Defensively, the Lakers are No. 6 in the league and currently rank as the Western Conference’s top unit. They excel at controlling the backboards – the No. 4 overall rebounding team – and protecting the basketball – the No. 2 team in terms of limiting turnovers. Despite all the harping on Bryant for breaking out of the team’s offense and doing his own thing, the Lakers are even a top 10 team when it comes to assist rate, a measure of what percentage of a team’s baskets come via assist. To boil it down: other than staying motivated late in the season, the Lakers simply don’t have a true weakness.

For this reason, they are the nightmare match-up for each of the West’s other contenders.

If the playoffs were to start today, the Lakers would have their dream first round match-up: they would be the No. 2 seed facing the No. 7 seed New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets have had a great run under first year coach Monty Williams, but they’ve essentially played .500 basketball over the last few months and lost starting power forward and go-to inside option David West. To make matters worse, franchise point guard Chris Paul is dealing with knee issues, as he had fluid drained last week and failed to score against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night, the first time that’s happened during his NBA career. If that series goes five games, consider New Orleans lucky.

The Lakers are most likely to face the Dallas Mavericks, another team that’s stumbled in recent weeks, in the second round. Any way you slice that one, and regardless of who has home court advantage, the match-ups come up in LA’s favor. The Lakers have plenty of guys to harass Dirk Nowitzki, while Bryant is fully capable of making life miserable for any of Dallas’s perimeter defenders. The only tough cover for LA is Jason Terry, but that’s a secondary concern. A recent Lakers blowout of the Mavericks, in which Dallas lost its cool, felt like a fairly accurate playoff preview. This series wouldn’t be a landslide, but the Lakers are simply too skilled, top-to-bottom, to trip up.

Things get more interesting, though, when we get to the Western Conference Finals discussion.

Against the Spurs, the Lakers clearly have an overwhelming frontcourt advantage, with Tim Duncan unable to compete single-handedly with LA’s trees. His colleagues either too small or too old to provide an adequate counterbalance to the Gasol/Bynum/Odom triad. San Antonio will turn to its new-look, super-efficient offense to make up for their lack of size, but it’s unclear whether they will be able to consistently generate the pace necessary to make it work. The Spurs will also be seriously out-manned by the size, length and strength of LA’s wings with no good match-up for Lamar Odom. As long as Tony Parker doesn’t completely dissect LA’s perimeter defense, LA should be able to survive what is always a serious test.

The most intriguing Western Conference Finals match-ups, though, would come if either the Oklahoma City Thunder or Denver Nuggets are able to slip through that side of the bracket. As the Thunder showed on Sunday, they’re not afraid of the Lakers and they are talented enough and boast enough star power, in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, to make life really, really difficult for anyone they face, including the defending champions. In Denver, it’s a new-model approach to success in the NBA: a star-free, all-quality rotation that never lets up and executes extremely well. Both the Thunder and the Nuggets are riding high coming into the playoffs – both are 8-2 in their last 10 – and both are very well coached teams that play very well at home.    

But even with the Thunder and the Nuggets, the arguments for the Lakers advancing are easier to make than the arguments against. This group of Lakers has beaten a super-efficient offense: the 2009 Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. This group of Lakers has beaten a hard-working, team-centric group with great balance: the 2010 Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. This group of Lakers beat the Thunder last year and beat a good approximation of the Nuggets when they downed the high-octane, hard-charging Phoenix Suns in last season’s Western Conference Finals.

LA has everything you need to be a true contender: good health at the moment, experience, top-end talent, solid coaching, a go-to scoring option a recent track record of success against their biggest threats and, of course, the rings. The Lakers certainly can’t take anything for granted, not with the quality of competition in the West this season, but they take our title as “Finals Favorite” with ease. 

Posted on: March 24, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: March 24, 2011 1:12 am

Lakers F Ron Artest: 'I want a Grammy'

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest has his sights set on a Grammy. Posted by Ben Golliver. ron-artest-rap

Fresh off his starring role in an instant classic triple overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns, Los Angele Lakers forward Ron Artest has set his sights on a bigger dream: a rap Grammy. Say Queensbridge.

In a lengthy interview with Bossip.com, Artest describes the difficulties of his fledgling rap career and expresses great joy at finally getting a song -- Go Loco -- played on the radio. "First off, this is people's livelihood, so if you're not coming correct it's not going to be on the radio. From the business to the creative part, I think this is the first time I came correct, from the beat to the musicians on the record. And then I got a dope artist on the record."

Artest notes that his industry learning curve has been somewhat slower than average. "I've been doing this 12 years and I'm probably at where these guys were at their first two or three years. I learned by myself, nobody taught me. Nobody was giving me any handouts, you know?"

Despite the slow progress, Artest explains that he was born to ball and rhyme. "Vern Fleming was on the Olympic team in 1988 with [Michael] Jordan, Chris Mullin all these guys. I grew up with a basketball pro and a top three rapper of all time, in Nas ... I was involved in basketball and music from day one." 

With a song on the airwaves, Artest is ready to crown himself. "[It's] a new breed, a new movement that's happening and I'm kind of a leader right now of the Queensbridge movement." Artest admits shortly thereafter that perhaps he hasn't yet supplanted the living legends. "Of course Nas is still in the game and Prodigy is home from jail, so obviously they're going to make their run."

Like any ambitious rapper, Artest's eyes are on the prize. "I want to develop my artists and have them put the best music out, and then continue to put the best music out. I don't want to slack off. Give 100%. I don't want to half-ass it. If a Grammy comes with that, that would be amazing.

"The artists that I have, they want the Grammies, they really do," Artest continued. "I want a Grammy. Realistically, myself, I don't know if I can get one with playing basketball. I don't know if I have the time to create the records that I really need to create and spend the time I know I need to be in the studio to make sure that everything is right for my records. But for my artists, I can see one or two of them getting a Grammy."

You can watch the full video interview at Bossip.com.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 21, 2011 8:31 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 8:35 am

Kobe Bryant 'proud' of Andrew Bynum's dirty foul

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says he is proud of center Andrew Bynum's hard foul. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bynum

Over the weekend, we noted that Los Angeles Lakers big man Andrew Bynum was suspended without pay for two games by the NBA for a hard foul he delivered on Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley. Bynum met Beasley in the air, made no real attempt on the ball and sent Beasley crashing to the floor. It was a play straight out of Rick Mahorn's playbook.

That type of mindless thuggery might rub some people the wrong way, but it didn't bother Lakers star Kobe Bryant. On the contrary, reports the Los Angeles Times, Bryant was pleased to see it.
Not all the Lakers were upset with the league's decision. "I'm proud of him," Kobe Bryant said of Bynum. "He earned his stripes."
Bynum is in a weird spot with the Lakers for two reasons. One: he's younger and noticeably less mature than the rest of the team's core. Two: he's almost always the biggest player on the court. That combination leaves Bynum open to all sorts of criticism from fans (and teammates) if Los Angeles gives up too many points in the paint or if the Lakers get outrebounded.

In short, Bynum is a big, easy target for criticism. If the Lakers don't own the middle, it's his fault.

Bryant's positive reinforcement of dangerous behavior isn't really the best look, but it makes sense in context because the Lakers, like most contenders, feel that interior dominance is the key factor to playoff success. Pau Gasol is who he is: long and lean, not strong and mean. Lakers forwards Lamar Odom and Ron Artest are great at physically dominating their match-ups and getting inside opponents' heads, but they're not capable of the kind of space-eating intimidation that Bynum is.

This situation, then, becomes less about the actual foul and more about the fact that Bynum showed he was capable of delivering some pain. Had this play happened in the postseason and cost Bynum multiple playoff games, the cheerleading wouldn't be nearly as loud. The excitement today comes from the idea that Bynum, perhaps, has a reputation now. 

And, like it or not, reputations can influence players' decisions and, in turn, can influence games.
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:54 pm

5 Things to Watch: Lakers at Heat

Lakers travel to Miami to take on the Heat Thursday night. Here are 5 things to keep an eye out for during the battle of the hype machines. 
Posted by Matt Moore

This game feels weird to look at. On the one hand, it should be a Lakers cakewalk. They're on a monstrous roll, destorying everything in their path, while the Heat are in the depths of a downright pathetic losing streak, continuously failing out of close games thanks to their own ineptitude. The Lakers have Andrew Bynum at the Heat's weakest position and Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, and Pau Gasol match up favorably with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Pau Gasol. But the Heat won on Christmas in impressive fashion, the game is in Miami (though it's not like that's a huge homecourt advantage), and the Lakers are due to stop caring about the regular season again at any second. I'm leaning strongly towards a Lakers blowout, but that just seems too obvious. Regardless, here's five things to watch as the champs take on the hype when the Lakers meet the Heat Thursday night. 

1. Chris Bosh Like A Low-Post Virgin: Chris Bosh says he needs more touches in the low-post. We've gone over why this is a bad idea. But it should be mentioned that Bosh had a lot of inside looks in the Christmas Day game, and played very well, while Andrew Bynum had 18 ineffective minutes. So it's possible Bosh could be on to something, particularly when it comes to this game, in regards to giving him a shot in the low-post. Forgive us if we're a bit skeptical about his ability to take on a healthy Bynum and Gasol when fully engaged, especially when he's in one of the worst slumps of his career. The big question will be if the Heat actually adopt such a strategy, placing their trust in the third best of the Triad to make the plays necessary on offense to control the game. Somehow it's hard to see LeBron James or Dwyane Wade getting fewer perimeter possessions so that Bosh can go to work in the block. But at this point, is there anything not worth trying?

Lakers at Heat
2. Mamba Killing: Kobe Bryant has been on a tear, looking like, well, Kobe Bryant since the All-Star break. The whole repertoire has been in effect, including the shake-and-bake fadeaway, the drive and kick pull-up jumper, and the baseline spin floater off the glass. All the greatest hits, essentially. The question tonight will be how the Heat guard him. Typically, they sick Dywane Wade on Bryant and don't bring help, but Byrant's been hot enough that may not be possible. The best option may honestly be to put LeBron James on him and hope the Lakers don't immediately put Lamar Odom in the post versus either Wade or Mike Miller. Otherwise, the Heat have to be ready with help defense on Bryant, particularly at the elbow where he does a ton of damage. 

3. Empty Bench Syndrome: The Lakers are going to get production out of their bench. They just are. Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, even Steve Blake and Matt Barnes will get some level of production. The Heat are going to lose the bench scoring match, there's no question on that. But how much is the issue. If Mario Chalmers can come in and provide a decent amount of scoring, just double digits, it will help a lot. Mike Miller needs to come out of his shooting slump, but that doesn't seem likely, especially if he's guarded by either Artest, Bryant, or Lamar Odom (who will eat him alive, physically). In the first matchup, Zydrunas Ilgauskas did a good job of spreading the floor. He could help things Thursday by knocking down a few mid-range jumpers to get the pressure off Bosh inside and open up the lanes a bit. 

4. Dynamite by Bynum: See how I didn't go for the "Bynum-ite" joke there? That's professional, baby. Anyway, in this case it's more than just a rhyming phrase. Bynum can literally blow up the Heat defensively if he goes to work. They have no one that can guard him, in any way, shape, or form, and if he get active and gets room and trust to work, he could destroy that team deep in the post. There's no one to keep him off the offensive glass, and he's going to have great matchups to get his hooks and jumpers going. This could be a huge night for Bynum, if the Lakers decide to go to him early and often, and provided his knee is feeling up to par. 

5. Desperate measures: This has to be considered a must-win game for the Heat. It's imperative that they win this game, just to get themselves some breathing room from the media and their own fans. But that means they have to play like it. The biggest issue for the Heat this year has been playing with urgency and cohesion. They've played without energy, without passion, and without focus in the moments they've needed it most. We have no reason to suspect they'll have it Thursday night against the Lakers, but that's really theire only chance to get this game, to want it more than the Lakers. Someone on that team is going to have to step up and lead. Will anyone?
Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:28 pm

Video: Ron Artest spills coffee in a fan's face

Posted by Royce Young

See, it's funny because it's Ron Artest. And because this poor Spurs fan gets a face full of hot coffee. We'll just all have to wonder for the rest of forever what "Bob" was doing in his courtside seat as a 6-7, 240-pound man steamrolled at hime. He wasn't paying attention, that's for sure.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com