Ron Artest plans to come up with ways to make LeBron James mad in Lakers-Heat matchup
Ron Artest refused to watch the Heat-Suns game on Thursday, opting to spend time getting ready for the holidays. But there's one thing he knows very well about LeBron James.
"He plays better and he entertains more when he's upset," Artest said of James.
Which is the exact reason why he wants to find a way to make James angry when the Lakers host the Miami Heat on Christmas Day. In Artest's mind, "It's best to get people's 'A' game so then if you play bad, you can't make excuses." So at some point during the Lakers' game on Saturday, Artest will do and/or say something to get under James' skin. But he's not going to share what it might be other than to say, "I'll do something tomorrow to make him mad."
That leaves it to me to help out with a few suggestions.
1. Announce James as the winner of Artest's championship ring raffle. At 11 a.m., Artest is scheduled to announce who will win his championship ring, with the funds going to mental health charities. He's already raised $600,000, and it's going toward a good cause. But it'd be funny if Artest jokingly announced James as the winner and proclaimed he needs it because this gives him the only chance to have a ring.
2. Give James a hug before the game. Artest sarcastically asked a reporter if he should do that after he fielded endless questions about Miami following the Lakers' 98-79 loss Tuesday to Milwaukee.
3. Clap chalk in James' face. After all, it's a custom for the King to do so before the game. Now he can be on the receiving end of it.
4. Remind James of his own NBA rankings. Artest boasted at the beginning of the season that Kobe Bryant is the league's best player, followed by Thunder forward Kevin Durant. But when asked where he would rank James, Artest replied, "You have to ask him." When pressed further, Artest said with a smile, "I only count to two. I've been out of school for 10 years. I only count to two."
5. Artest can remind James of his tweet when he announced his decision to go to Miami. Artest sarcastically tweeted, "What team did lebron go to?"
6. As he runs up and down the court defending James, Artest could recite the lyrics to his song "Champion." Something tells me it would be pretty aggravating for Artest to recite the first verse after each defensive stop: "Moment of silence for the champions."
7. Artest can reveal to James that he actually was the person hosting an anti-LeBron party this summer in New York. Although Artest made it clear in a statement he wasn't associated with the party, it never hurts to lie if it gets under an opponent's skin.
8. James plans to debut on Christmas Day the newest pair of Nike shoes called LeBron 8 V/2, a bright red shoe with green shoelaces called "Run on Red." Kobe Bryant might be stealing James' spotlight by debuting the Nike Zoom Kobe VI shoe in Grinch colors, but he doesn't have to be the only one. Artest can find a way to steal James' shoes and wear them himself for the game. If Artest can't pull that off, he can always toss James' shoes much like he did last season to former Lakers forward Trevor Ariza.
9. Bump into James, just like he did with Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra and former Cleveland Coach Mike Brown.
10. Artest should just do his job. As much as he prides himself on matching up with the best players, Artest struggled to defend James last season, allowing him to score an average of 31.5 points in two games. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson simply wants Artest and Matt Barnes to contain James, limiting his defensive rebounds and points in transition. Focusing on that task could prove more valuable than worrying about how to upset James.
E-mail the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org