If you have wondered what exactly the new and improved Ron Artest is like, consider his latest move: posing on the December version of Penthouse Forum. Most athletes could pretty much get away with this (if it were Derek Jeter, his Q-rating would go up). Artest has a very troubled past and should've avoided the cover shoot if he had any sense.
But Ron Artest and logic don't go together that well.
Ron Artest has truly the most unique personality in the NBA, mainly because more than anything, I just get a sense of ignorance from him. Listening to him speak after he ran into the Pistons' stands genuinely makes me think he doesn't know better.
Some might remember that only a couple days before the Palace incident Artest was suspended a game for asking the year off to promote his upcoming rap album (which tanked tremendously by the way). When Carlisle himself called Artest ignorant, Ron said something along the lines of, "what does that mean?" It's funny; not knowing what ignorant means is like not ever hearing the word esoteric.
In his 10+ months away from the game, Artest has no doubt avoided the therapy and treatment we all think he needs for photo shoots and whatever else he does in his free time. For his sake, I hope he has improved his antics; the NBA has by far the harshest penalties of any league, and Artest could easily be the prototype for happens to a player beyond a 1-year suspension.
Artest is like Sprewell, Fortson and Rodman rolled into a tight package. Ron Artest is the best Small Forward in the NBA when he's either healthy or able, but fans won't be quick to like him again after he spoiled Reggie Miller's last season.
The spotlight hasn't been good for Artest, and this year's will be bigger than ever before. If there's one person who deserves a dress code, it's Artest, who needs a big a perception boost in the eye of the public. Had his album come out before the brawl, it might've at least ranked higher than 13,000th on Amazon.com.
Maybe the denial of money will persuade him, if nothing else.
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