Ever since Ron Artest became a Laker, he’s undergone a terrific image makeover. Where he was once the NBA’s most dangerous man and a puncher of faces, now he’s a title-winning eccentric who advocates for mental health awareness. Call it the Lakers effect, but Ron Artest is hardly the villain he was in the middle part of this decade.
However, while his popularity is at an all-time high, Artest isn’t ever going to be president. That might seem pretty obvious, but he’s the one who brought it up. Totally natural, considering he was asked about his offense.
“The sun comes out when it’s going to come out. You can’t just force it,” he said. “I could go maybe eight for 15 every game or something like that, and take away shots from other guys. I’d rather have two points and everybody else score. I’d rather win.
“That [championship] ring did so much more individually for me. How much more individually do I want? Ten points? What am I going to do with 10 points? Be a Hall of Fame legend? What am I going to do with 15 points? I’m going to be MVP of the NBA?
“Sometimes I don’t even want to go for a rebound. If I can get one more rebound and somebody else can get it, let them have it. What am I going to get, five rebounds? I’m still not going to be president with five rebounds.”
Well, duh, he’s not going to be president. People aren’t clamoring to elect a guy who’s been videotaped punching strangers, but even that’s irrelevant. The main problem is that Artest isn’t 35 yet, so he can’t even run for president. He’s got another four years before he’s even eligible, so let’s put the brakes on this non-existent campaign. Geez, guys.
Presidential aspirations aside, Artest is in the midst of the worst season of his career. He’s playing the fewest minutes, shooting the lowest percentage, and rebounding and assisting the least of his 12 seasons. Plus, he’s been benched for Matt Barnes a few times. He’s struggling and he seems to feel the way to get out of that funk is to do even less. Interesting strategy, that one.
But maybe he’s right. Forcing shots up isn’t the answer, and if he lets the game come to him, he should be able to find his rhythm eventually. That doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding rebounds and passing up easy shots just to be unselfish, but deferring while he’s out of sorts is probably a good move.
The shots will fall, Ron Artest will play well again and he might someday be president. Wouldn’t be any weirder than that time we elected Bill Pullman.