Ron Artest had a busy summer. He did a comedy tour, for some reason. He was rumored to be playing for just about every international team that no one has ever heard of, then didn’t sign with any of them. He’s going to be on “Dancing with the Stars,” something my mom is very excited about. He tried to change his name to Metta World Peace. He went to a Celine Dion concert. Basically, if it didn’t involve actually playing basketball, Ron Artest was doing it.
And that kinda sounds like a problem, especially in a lockout that could end up lasting a long, long time. After all, if Ron’s busy doing all this other stuff, how can he focus on his actual job? That’s what Andy Kamenetzky of ESPN was wondering, so he asked Ron-Ron.
AK: I know you’re aware some media have wondered if “Dancing with the Stars” signals you being distracted. I’ll admit, I’ve wondered the same thing, between this and the comedy tour and talk about British soap operas. A) where is your focus right now, and B) even if those people are wrong, do you understand why they might think that?
RA: Well, it’s like, back in the days, people was able to tell you what to do with your life. But [now] people can’t tell you what do with your own life. That’s why it’s called your life and not their life. If it was their life, I would do exactly what they want me to do. But Ron Artest is a different breed.
Never thought I’d see the day Ron Artest used pronoun mastery to win an argument, but here we are. Feels right. Moving on.
I’ve been playing in the NBA 13 years. I’ve got a Defensive Player of the Year. Game 7 [of the 2010 NBA Finals]. “Mr. Game 7,” that’s what people call me sometimes. Lockdown defender. One of the best defenders ever. Not of a decade. Not this year. But ever. [Dennis] Rodman. [Michael] Jordan. Hakeem Olajuwan. One of the best ever. So can’t nobody question who this man in front of you is.
I just did a quick Google search for “ron artest best defender ever,” and it returned 58,600 results like it’s no big deal, so this must be true. I am not sure that any of the results actually say that Ron Artest is one of the best defenders ever, but I am willing to take his word for it because I don’t want to get pronouned to death (starring Ded Tanson and Zach Galifiaschwartzman). If he says people say he’s one of the best defenders ever, I buy it, because he is one of only 16 players in the history of the NBA to have won Defensive Player of the Year, which makes him pretty elite. I refuse to believe anyone has ever called him “Mr. Game 7,” since he’s only played in two Game 7s in his career, but I will buy the defense stuff because that’s kind of his thing.
Back to the lecture at hand. As Kamenetzky mentioned, some people think Ron Artest cares too much about things that aren’t basketball, which seems like a valid argument because of the first paragraph. However, Ron debates that because he doesn’t ever think about basketball, even when he’s playing.
AK: But even you admitted, back when you were with the Pacers, that trying to do music while playing basketball was distracting. Are you in a place now where you can handle it better?
RA: I won  Defensive Player of the Year when I was [doing music]. I was doing music for the last 12 years. I had an album come out in 2005, still averaged 20 points. Every team still wanted me. Went to the Houston Rockets. Dropped singles. I recorded “Champion” a year before we won the championship, you know? And I wanted to do that to build my celebrity up. To entertain.
AK: So you can do both at the same time?
RA: I entertain on the court. You see me on the court. I’m never thinking about basketball. I don’t know when’s the last time I thought about basketball. Even Game 7, I was thinking about my single.
RA: Damn Skippy.
AK: How do you manage to think about something completely different and play basketball?
RA: Basketball is easy. It’s easy. See, for people that don’t play, it’s hard. Because they go to the gym, old white guys and over the hill black guys that go to the gym, and they suck. Right? They suck. I go to these gyms. I see them play. For me, it’s easy.
I will have to check with the curators of the Argument Conservatory and Museum in Antioch, OH, to be sure, but I am thinking that this could go down as one of the best arguments of all-time. First, Ron Artest provides factual information that proves he doesn’t need to be totally focused on basketball to be effective, which makes sense because NBA players have a lot of free time. Then, he says something totally off the wall and obviously not true, just to remind you who this argument is coming from. Then, to sum things up, he compares himself to old people as a way of proving that basketball is easy for him. If this argument were an Adam Sandler movie, it would be “Bulletproof,” which is also the case if were a 2010 electropop single.
There’s really nothing you can disagree with here, because Ron Artest is kind of right. He has been distracted his entire career, but that seems to have worked out OK for him. Maybe he’d be even better if he were completely focused on basketball, but we really haven’t seen that to compare the results. Smart move by Artest, making it impossible to accurately assess how off-the-court activities have affected his career. It’s like he’s been planning this from the start.