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Shaquille O'Neal includes Ron Artest on MMA fight wish list

There's no NBA news to discuss, so the fireworks regarding anything Shaquille O'Neal says when he joins Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson on TNT next season will have to wait.

But for now, we can enjoy running down O'Neal's list of NBA players he'd like to face in a mixed martial arts fight. One of them includes a beloved Laker, and no, it's not Kobe Bryant.

"Ron Artest, you could probably put in there," O'Neal said.

I'm surely eager to hear Artest's reaction, since he delivers memorable soundbites just like O'Neal does.

But before everyone thinks we could see a match more violent than when Artest stormed into the stands during the so-called Malice at the Palace brawl in Auburn Hills, Mich., seven years ago, consider that this seems to indicate O'Neal's respect for Artest since he was the only current player selected. The rest of his list included what he called "old-school players," including Barkley, Charles Oakley, Karl Malone, Xavier McDaniel and Danny Ainge. 

It's unrealistic this fight would happen anyway. Not when Artest's soon about to change his name to Metta World Peace. Or so we think.


Cheshire Jets reportedly offer Ron Artest help in off-court roles

Ron Artest to Cheshire Jets not a done deal

Artest on 'Dancing With the Stars,' Deadspin and remarriage

--Mark Medina

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