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Exit interviews: Ron Artest emphasizes Lakers' recent success

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Ron Artest exit interview

Plenty of the questions centered on what went wrong for the Lakers.

Why did they get swept in the Western Conference semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks? What changes need to be made this off-season? And why did Artest play so inconsistently?

But Ron Artest answered plenty of the questions during his exit interview, emphasizing the positive, noting the difficulty with the Lakers appearing in three consecutive NBA Finals and winning two of them. He defended Pau Gasol's poor postseason play, expressing optimism that he'll bounce back. And he strongly defended Derek Fisher, arguing he rarely made a mistake in the postseason.

"I'll be more than happy to go to battle with these guys again. I'm more proud of the guys. They went to the Finals three years in a row. I'm not going to speak for myself. But as a team, you think at what they've done They went to three Finals in row.

-- "I'm proud of the guys," Artest said. "What they've done and even coach [Phil Jackson], they did what people only dream of. Getting to the Finals and winning. They did what only they can dream of. When I think about that, I can't really critique what happened this year. I can only find not excuses but reasons on why they're great. It's a great group. I don't think you've seen the last of the Lakers."

Among the other highlights of his exit interview

-- Artest immediately went to the Lakers' practice facility to work out following his interview

-- Artest plans to figure out how much of his salary he's going to donate to mental health charities

-- On the Lakers' basketball mileage: "We had six people play 82 games, some who should've sat some games. I think our legs were gone. We played almost 400 games. A lot of the teams that are winning now, they're rookies and were home last year in April."

-- Why the Lakers fell short of a three-peat: "I don't like to make excuses. If I said that was the reason we lost, that was an excuse. We got swept. That's what happened at the end of the day. If I don't point the finger at myself, I'm definitely not going to include anybody, or any why we lost."

-- On his Game 3 suspension after clotheslining Mavericks guard J.J. Barea: "I don't like to dwell on things too much. It shouldn't have happened. Reaching out for a foul and the guy is 5-2, I'm reaching down. There's only so much down I can go. His face is right in my hand. It's very unfortunate. Whatever happened was unfortuante and uncalled for. That wasn't the reason why we lost."

-- On Pau Gasol: "He's disappointed in himself. But I would bet he'll come back strong. Whatever happened and however he played, I would bet he'd come back strong.

-- On the Lakers' losing early in the playoffs: "This sweep helped to move in the right direction and get hunger back."

-- On Derek Fisher: As many people talk about Fish, it definitely wasn't a reason why we lost. He's in great shape, pays attention to detail and rarely made a mistake in the playoffs. You can't see how perfect he played.

-- On his own play: "The playoffs I played good. I started off playing pretty well and defense was pretty good. I played a good role. I showed I could score the ball and that's not my role. When I came here I sacrificed money and scoring. That's what it is.

-- On playing for Phil Jackson: "It was fun. He's a team coach. There's nothing more you can ask for. He's coaching 15 guys and his No. 1 priority is the 15 guys. He did a a good job stressing to us playing together, but we didn't execute his vision this year."

--Mark Medina

[email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest reflects on the season as he answers reporter's questions about the Lakers season ending and his future with the team at the Laker's practice facility in El Segundo Tuesday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (17)

The comments to this entry are closed.

re: Mary Chandler & KL_Beast's posts ....

Ah. It's just like old times. The Lakers have lost and people who don't
know anything blame Kobe for the loss.

Let's just throw some facts at this posts ...

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=310508006

KB 7-18
AB 2-7
PG 4-10
DF 1-8

Did you notice that the Dallas bench scored 75 pts?

Did you notice that Phil was laying into Pau not Kobe?

Did you notice the bad knee, the bad ankle, the bad fingers on
Kobe Bryant?

And yet still he played better than everyone else on the team.

So tell me? Why do you post here? You're not actually Lakers fans.
I say this, not because Kobe hasn't done things that were incorrect.
I say this because you *NEVER* give Kobe credit for any of the things
he did right. You know those things like being an all-star, playing hurt,
leading the team to two championships in 3 years.

Perhaps you respond with Magic was a better teammate. To be honest,
you don't know. You weren't Magic's teammate and you weren't Kobe's
teammate.

In the end, Kobe has given everything he has to this organization and that
gift has led to 5 championships.

Perhaps you respond with Kobe wouldn't have won the first 3 w/o Shaq.
Maybe. I'll give it back to you. If Kobe had had Wilt Chamberlain or
Kareem instead of Shaq the Lakers would *STILL* be winning championships!

For a guy who was supposed to be touble in the locker room, Ron seems to be saying and doing the right things in regards to this team. He seems to respect being a Laker, and expresses support for Fish and Pau, while everyone else is bashing them to no end. I think we can all learn from the fact they seem to be family and don't blame one another for losing. There's not enough evidence to support " trouble" in the locker room.

I am not making excuses for the Lakers but I agree with everything RON said. My heart is broken but not my spirits. Let us all move on.

I am rooting for any of the West teams to claim the championship this year. Jason Kidd deserve a ring so I will not feel bad if Mavs wins.

Very good comments from Artest. But, reality check, L.A. needs new young athletic A-List Stars NOW.

For Artest, he can stay in L.A. as long he is a bench player NOT a starter!

>>>I am rooting for any of the West teams to claim the championship this year.
>>>Jason Kidd deserve a ring so I will not feel bad if Mavs wins.

Now that the Lakers are out, I agree with you.

Kidd and Nowitzki both deserve one more than LeEgo.

And if not the Mavs, I'd be happy to see the Thunder or Grizz win it.

If it's the Thunder, then it'll be good to see Durant, a humble star, get a ring before LeBron and his gigantic ego. I really don't want the Heat to win one right away, as that would cause LeBron's gigantic ego to explode to a size so large it cannot be contained by the continental U.S., so we would all need to move to Canada or Mexico so that LeBron's giant head could still fit in the United States.

If it's Memphis, then it will amuse me that Marc Gasol will be one of the key pieces on a team that took down the #1 overall seed (after Popovich's complaints about the Pau for Marc trade), and the rest of the league.

MM,

Who conducted these exit interviews?

As I said before, Artest can stay in L.A. as long he is a bench player (we got him very cheap).... plus, he will make our bench stronger as well.


Let go of Pau, Odom, and possibly Bynum for Dwight Howard, CP3, Kevin Love....

And KOBE NEEDS TO CUT HIS SALARY LESS THAN HALF SO THAT HE CAN GET A-LISTS PLAYERS TO HELP HIM AT LEAST 5 MORE YEARS!!!!

DEAR KOBE,

I WILL GIVE YOU STOCK OPTIONS (OWNERSHIP) IN MY INTERNET COMPANY AS A COMPENSATION 1.5 X THAN WHAT YOU ARE GETTING AS AN NBA PLAYER AS LONG YOU GIVE ROOM FOR THE LAKERS ORGANIZATION TO ACQUIRE DWIGHT HOWARD, CP3, KEVIN LOVE, BLAKE GRIFFIN, OR KEVIN DURANT(NEXT 2 TO 3 YEARS).

get back to me at [email protected]

LBJ will be hailed as King James. Boston will go down and go down hard by tomorrow. Nothing can stop LBJ and DWade except injury. The man is a fantastic player that cannot be reasoned with, he feels no remorse or pity and he will not stop ever, until he gets his first ring.

They hailed him as KING even before stepping on the NBA court. He even has the tatoo "CHOSEN ONE". He can even buy himself a throne but he's not going to win multiple championships. This year is his ONLY chance so he better not LECHOKE on this one.

GO MAVS! GO THUNDERS! GO GRIZZLES! :-)

Nice job, Ron Artest. You handled yourself in that exit interview like a professional. You can be proud of yourself. Thanks for the kind words about your teammates--that is why you are on this team. Good luck to you and the Lakers next year--I will be cheering for all of you.

Ron Artest and the other Laker players that made bonehead plays that could have caused physical harm to other player owes an apology to the Dallas team and their fan base.

kobe is FINISH dude is not great but the teams he played on is hes very good durable hard working on his game(jordan style but highly watered down version) but not great(MY OPINON) this is not the first time that i seen kobe fold under pressure he never made anyone better on the team are shot 50% in his career he was NEVER a lockdown defender but makes first team every yr laker privliage i guess this blk mamba nonsense and kobe killer crap cmon man dude was nowhere to be found in 4th qtr shooting bricks after brick than folks wanna call him great iverson was better t mac was better dirk ive been saying it for yrs is better than shot making wise kobe always had talent around and never TOOK advantage of it laker should trade kobe for a younger upcoming wing star player and draft picks and gear the offense around gasol and bynum and get some younger blood to up lift the purple and gold kobes is finish 32 looking 45yr on the courts he cant guard nobody or take anyone off da dribble that is why shoot long range shots BONHEAD turnovers leaving guys wide and you guys think kobe is great he wouldve never won a ring if he(kobe) wasnt playing for the laker he was NEVER the PRIME reason why lakers won their rings he always had superstar help

"DEAR KOBE,

I WILL GIVE YOU STOCK OPTIONS (OWNERSHIP) IN MY INTERNET COMPANY AS A COMPENSATION 1.5 X THAN WHAT YOU ARE GETTING..."

Well, with that and a dollar he can buy himself a sports drink at 7-11.

only idiots say that kobe is finished and needs to be traded. 1: kobe's still the best thing going for the Lakers. All teams gear up for him, not the bigs. w/o kobe, LA has no heart. just look at their players. 2: kobe has a no-trade clause.

like i said, idiots!!

Haha What a crazy guy! Barea is 5 2"!! Ignorant is the only word that I can find to describe this piece of mierda.

You go ron-ron.
We love you!

Ron is awesome, period. The guy still has a lot of play left in him -- a defensive stopper, he still is. And he's simplistic, but very intelligent. I love his game, though he should lose a little muscle and be more agile next year.


Ron Artest deserves to be back!!!


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