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Ron Artest Is Nuts

By George Ofman

So much has been said and written about Tiger Woods the last several days. But more should be discussed about the raving maniac who plays for the defending world champions.

Ron Artest is nuts. Very nuts. And dangerous. And he needs to be scolded. Seriously scolded.

I've had enough of Tiger for one week so let's move onto to this unbalanced act who actually still plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. Comparisons to Dennis Rodman are acceptable but only after a swig of Hennessy.

That's what Artest told The Sporting News he drank at halftime when he used to play for the Bulls. Score a few points, get a few rebounds, take a break and have a snifter or two of cognac. I'm just wondering: Did that come with a beer chaser?

Artest says he used to walk to a liquor store near the United Center, buy his stash and then stash it in his locker. (Former Cubs pitcher Glendon Rusch once opened his footlocker at Wrigley Field and lo and behold . . . WINE! Good wine, though I'm certain Rusch and some of his teammates didn't do tastings between innings.)

Artest played on some very bad Bulls teams. Michael Jordan was gone. So was Scottie Pippen and most of the remnants from the second three-peat. Instead, young Artest was playing with the likes of Dalibar Bagaric, Dragan Tarlac, Dickie Simpkins and Ron Mercer. I could see chugging a bottle of Hennessy watching these Bulls play. They lost a combined 132 games in Artest's two full seasons. He was traded to the Pacers during the 2001-2002 season.

Forgive while I think back to the Quentin Daly days when the troubled and misguided member of the Bulls was once found hiding in his closet. He had issues, lots of them. But not like Artest.

The man is disturbed. Artest is the same guy who went ballistic at the Palace of Auburn Hills back in 2004. Was he drinking then? Sounds like it when you read his response. "It wasn't my fault. I don't see how I could do anything 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 into some stands, so stop'."


For this, Artest was suspended 73 games and fined $7 million.

And for admitting he drank at halftime when he was with the Bulls, Artest needs to be suspended again. I'm certain the last thing NBA Commissioner David Stern wants to do is deal with this moronic goo, but he must. He's impugned the league before and he's done it again.

Stern has been down this road before with the Bulls. Remember Dennis the Menace?

There are bad guys in every sport. Dennis Rodman was a very bad guy when he came to the Bulls. I was adamantly opposed to him coming anywhere near the United Center, let alone in a Bulls jersey. The hatred for the bad boy Pistons lingered and Rodman was still a card carrying member. Pippen wanted nothing to do with him. I truly believe he would have rather had a weeklong migraine than be his teammate. But Michael took the responsibility of keeping Rodman in line. For the most part it worked, witness three more titles.

So I guess the Lakers looked at the blueprint and figured, if Michael can do it, why not Kobe?

Maybe he can, but I suspect the commissioner is going to sidetrack Artest for a little while. In the meantime, drink your Hennessy before or after you watch a game. Something about halftime gives me the creeps.


George Ofman, an original member of The Score and a veteran of NPR, has covered more than 3,500 sporting events over the course of his career. Comments welcome.

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