Ron Artest, Hennessy, and the democratic process
I'll level with you- given how high Ron Artest's career arc has set the bar on shock value, his revelation in an upcoming interview with The Sporting News that (among other things) early in his career as a member of the Bulls he used to drink Hennessy (right) at halftime, in part to help cope with his team's poor performance, didn't really make a dent in my consciousness when I came across it early Wednesday morning. Artest admits he was a head case as a young player, partying and doing crazy stuff. No argument here. Boozing at halftime? Sure, why not? My mind was quickly back on pressing, hyper-local questions, like whether there was enough milk left in the fridge for a heaping bowl of Boo Berry.
Judging by some of the comments left on the site, a Google search for "Ron Artest Hennessy," and chatter on talk radio, there's more buzz about Ron's, um, halftime buzz work, than I initially expected (because clearly if I moved to NaiveLand, they would hold a parade and crown me king). When combined with others in the interview about Joey Crawford's officiating in last season's Western Conference semi-final, Artest's words have piqued the league's interest. His feelings about being compared to Trevor Ariza and being a "first option" defensively have sounded alarm bells with others. (It wouldn't shock me in the slightest if Artest was fined for criticizing an official.)
Look, we're going to be taking the temperature of Lakers fans on Artest all year. For the next five, really, parsing everything he says and does. Call him Tea Leaves, if you'd like. I'm still not concerned- I'm all about what I see on the floor (he's growing more effective every game) and signs he's not fitting in with the team culture (none I yet see, and meanwhile I appreciate Artest's self-awareness). But I'm just a guy with a blog. What say you? Click below for the poll.