Friday, October 07, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired Up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #6

#6 - Artest Strikes Back!

That's right folks. He's baaaaaaack! Whether you love him or hate him, you better get used to the hourly SportsCenter reports on Ron Artest's return to the NBA these next few weeks. Although I'm definitely not looking forward to ESPN's slanted coverage on the Artest saga, I will admit that I'm going to buy into the hype (hence this #5 ranking). I love the a basketball player. Not only did the Pacers sorely miss Ron last season (Jesus. If it wasn't for Reggie's heartwarming send-off, I think watching the Pacers would have rivaled watching the Fever), but the NBA felt the lack of its resident maniac. For starters, the guy can fucking play. Not one of you true basketball lovers out there can deny that Artest is a genuine pleasure to watch on the court. Reckless? Perhaps. Tenacious? Certainly. Passionate? Absolutely. I can probably count on a single hand the amount of players in the NBA who exhibit half of the intensity that Artest does. And in these eyes, that's special. That's the way basketball is supposed to be played.

From another standpoint, Ron Artest the whack-job is back treading waters at your local NBA arena. Uh-oh. Uh-oh? Isn't this what we love about the NBA? That we can become so intimate with the players to the point where we can actually consider them to be real villains? The NBA has an advantage in this respect more so than any of the other major leagues. With less players, more opportunties to exhibit character, and a league that makes its players more accessible than any other, we are actually allowed to establish legitimate intangible relationships with the players. Whether you embrace your favorite player because of the sportmanship he exudes on the court, or you scream obscenities at the television because you despise a hated player's antics, you become closer to the action-- almost a part of it. And so, it's okay to cast Ron Artest as the role of villain, but still have a desire to see him perform. Superman wouldn't be any fun if he didn't have to sweat Lex Luthor. The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry wouldn't approach its enormity if not everyone understood the bitter history of the two archrivals. And I wouldn't secretly hope that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers turn it around quickly for the sake of vigourously taking the side of anyone of their opponents. On that note, allow me to run off on one of my patented tangents.

Players I Just Plain Don't Like:
  • Mark Blount - A thief. Should go to jail for what he's done to the Celtics.
  • Andrew Bynum - Ditched UConn for the $. And now he's a fucking Laker! Ugh.
  • Sam Cassell - He once said that he was better than Michael Jordan. I'm also a little terrified of aliens after watching "Signs".
  • Jamal Crawford - He plays like the NBA is his own fucking rec league. Have a little more respect, pal.
  • Eddy Curry - Should have already been a 20 and 10 guy, but he just isn't willing to put in the work. Does he realize how tremendously gifted he is?
  • Troy Hudson - Pass the ball. And get a haircut.
  • Raef LaFrentz - I used to be a huge fan and then he totally shit the bed after Denver traded him to Dallas. He single-handedly destroyed my fantasy team one season. I'm still not over it.
  • Tyronn Lue - I'm not even sure why. Maybe it goes back to his nearly shutting down AI in the Finals. Maybe it's just his ugly ass hair.
  • Rashad McCants - There's just something about him that I can't put my finger on. That'll change if he provides solid support for KG.
  • Michael Olowokandi - He's actually growing on me because someone ALWAYS takes a shot on him in fantasy, and then I just laugh when he he falls flat on his face.
  • Wally Szczerbiak - Wally is that kid who rolls up to the court in his Mom's Lexus RX with Black Eyed Peas bumping on his stereo. He rocks an Armani jumpsuit and Air Jordan XIX's, and complains after every foul. Worst part is, he can light you up. I hate that guy.
  • Tim Thomas - He left Villanova after only a year and never came close to approaching what he should have been. It's embarrasing to admit that he's currently our best alum in the NBA.
  • Antoine Walker - I'd choose Brent Musburger to be on my pick-up team before 'Toine.

One more brief note on Artest that has to be pointed out. While I encourage people to designate players with certain personality traits and characteristics, we must not forget that these are real people. I'm sure many of you would love nothing more than to see the guy screw his reputation up once again, but I think it's important that we remember Artest is genuinely trying to make up for his mistakes. A lot of you might not believe this, but everything that's come out since the incident on November 19th suggests that he sincerely seeks reparations. Don't believe me? I have proof.

Ron had perfect attendance for his anger management class and was callaed a "model student" by his teacher.

Ron even decided to enroll in a psychology class at the local university. Here he is reading reading up on Jean Piaget's 'Constructivist Theory of Intellectual Development' while sipping an iced tea on a lazy summer day.

He also decided to put his rapping career on hold for awhile, instead picking up the cello. Says Ron, "There's just something serene, yet so profound about the cello. It's really helped ease my meloncholy." Grant Hill and all you "piano" players out your heart out.

Seeking healthy, unadulterated fun, Ron decided to enroll in Little League Baseball. The managers elected him to the County All-Star Team, but Ron declined the offer because he was tied up in prior obligations due to his job at...

... Pizza Hut, where Ron will tell you, "The best pizzas under one roof!".

Yes, it's been quite an experience for Ron Artest during this unexpectedly long off-season, but he's ready to go back to what he does best!

(Thanks to the talented posters at's message board for the pics)


At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

These 30 reasons are great. I'm saving those in a Word Document. But, what about reason #6?

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Kuan_thing said...

Yeah, and 3 of the players that you dislike are in Timberwolves...
No wonder KG couldn't depend on them this season...

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

Joe-- Sorry about that. This was supposed to be #5, but since Anthony took his sorry ass time getting #6 up, I pushed it ahead to #5. Thus the discrepancy between the post title and article title.

Kuan Thing-- Funny you should say that. I was just going to add Wally Z because I inexplicably left him off last night, and then I read your comment. He's in there now. Thats 4 T-Wolves, not to mention Cassell. I hadn't even realized this when I spontaneously put together this list. The fact that I'm still rooting for KG and the Wolves this season should tell you how much I respect and admire Garnett.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Ryan Kinkade said...

"The fact that I'm still rooting for KG and the Wolves this season should tell you how much I respect and admire Garnett."

A-men. I'm a die hard Wolves, Twins, Vikings, fan... but it's seriously close to the point where I WANT KG to go somewhere else because I feel like it's a shame that such a talent is being wasted with those guys you mentioned. And yeah... the first thing I noticed about your post was the 4 current Wolves and 1 former that you can't stand.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Double Clutch aka Kuan Thing said...

No wonder KG sucked out last season and failed to enter the Playoffs for the FIRST time in his ever-spectacular career. Sad.


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