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Ron Artest sets eyes on an NFL career after NBA

November 22, 2010 |  3:12 pm

Ron Artest always likes to feel entertained. He always wants to think outside the box. And he always enjoys sharing with media and fans alike.

It's too easy of a punchline when you hear about Artest meeting with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens about his chances of pursuing an NFL career after he retires from the NBA. But Artest fills it in himself.

"It's an honor for TO to even say, 'Since you're crazy enough to even think about this, we can talk,' " Artest said Monday after practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "I'm going to talk to T.O. to see if I'm crazy or if i have a legitimate shot."

Most would say Artest is the former, though it's not completely ludicrous. Artest's 6-foot-6, 244-pound frame enables him to guard both brawny and speedy scorers, and he's never one to back down from physical confrontations. He has trained in boxing for the last three years and has even openly considered taking up that sport during his post-basketball life. And he can point to San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who Artest calls an "inspiration" in becoming an NFL star after playing college basketball at Kent State University.

"When you have an opportunity why leave it on the table," said Artest, who signed with the Lakers prior to the 2009-10 season to a five-year, $33-million deal. "I feel great. I feel like my life is just beginning right now, honestly."

-- Mark Medina

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