We all know Ron Artest.
Ron Artest was involved in one of the, if not the, biggest brawls in sports history in 2004 when he ran into the crowd at the Palace of Auburn Hills and proceded to pummel on some guy he thought had thrown a beer cup at him. Artest running into the crowd started an absolute melee as several Pacers players wound up fighting with several different fans, both in the seats and on the floor. This resulted in the game ultimately being called and Pacers players getting beer and everything imaginable dumped on them as they were escorted back to their lockerroom. A despicable display on all accounts. (see video at very bottom).
Due to the events of that evening, Ron Artest quickly found himself on the "Most Hated" list in Detroit--if he wasn't already-- which is highlighted by guys like Claude Lemieux, A.J. Pierzynski, and Matt Millen. He was suspended for the season by the NBA and officially ingrained the brawl into the Pistons and NBA's memories4lyfe.
With an event such as this, I will forever be able to answer the question, "where were you when Artest and the Pacers tried to fight 20,000 people at the Palace?" The answer for me: Drinking cheap bourbon in an undersized college dorm room with way too many dudes (it's not gay because we were drinking whiskey and watching sports, okay?).
Rehashing old memories of the brawl was not the main purpose for this post, though.
As some of you may already know, Ron Artest will be a free agent this summer. With the Pistons, it seems pretty clear that an era has ended and a new one will be built this summer. Interestingly, Ron Artest's availability and the Pistons rebuilding might correlate. It's been just over a week and a half into the unofficial offseason and I'm shocked to hear that a fair number of fans would like to see Ron Artest in the red, blue, and white next season.
If you haven't heard this before, then take a moment to let it soak in. I'll talk amongst myself while you're verklempt.
I'm not understanding how this would be a good move. First of all, the PIstons are supposedly doing a semi-youth movement and Ron Artest will be 30 next season. Not exactly adding youth. Secondly, he comes with multiple carry on bags and we all know you can't do that on airplanes and it'd cost too much to check them all. In other words, that brawl (and all the jokes and drama that come with it) will, or should, forever preclude Artest ever becoming a Detroit Piston. That's like Claude Lemieux becoming a Red Wing or Parkman becoming an Indian in Major League. One didn't happen and the other didn't work out. Case in point. Total facial, LaFleur.
However, these same fans seem to think we need to get over what happened nearly 5-years ago and realize that Artest's bulky 6'7" frame will benefit the Pistons when playing the likes of Lebron and Paul Pierce in the playoffs. And this is a decent point, but I'm still not buying.
I would rather continue to lose to Lebron than sign Artest to a contract he's not worth, especially at his age, and risk the non-stop "brawl jokes" and potential failure of such an erratic signing. Honestly, this guy is a mental case, character hazard, and a haymaker to a front-row fan waiting to happen. It doesn't help the nerves knowing the first two things that come up under his name on a Google search are "fight" and "brawl."
Yet, some people have forgiven him. Some people are willing to move on for the better of the franchise and many believe he will benefit. I might be on board of getting over the fight, but I still think it's more than reasonable to believe because that happened, he'll never be on our team.
Ron Artest has already given his many takes on the fight over the years. To him, it's old news and not that big of a deal. Of course it's not a big deal. If it was a big deal, and he was somewhat smart, it would have never happened in the first place. John Green, the guy who threw the cup, probably feels differently about it since he's been banned from the Palace4lyfe. Artest on the other hand, he still makes millions, will make even more this summer, and has no problem with what happened back in the day. In fact, recently Artest joked about going into the stands during a Rockets/Blazers game and mentioned that beer was offered to him (start around 55 second mark):
Surprisingly, I laughed at this. Mostly because of Yao's comments, "not home this time, not at home this time." Yao laughs like a little kid laughing at one of his elder's jokes. I digress.
Artest also jokes about how he wanted to take a drink of the beer offered to him by one of his fans. He says he didn't take a sip because there were too many cameras. Really? So you were cool with running into the crowd in a nationally televised game and beating on someone because he was being "disrespectful," but you can't consume a beverage, that you're technically legally allowed to do during a late TNT playoff telecast because there were too many cameras around? I know it's not the right thing to do, but it sounds as if his logic is just a tad contradicting, eh?
Well, I think I discovered the real reason he didn't want to drink any beers in front of the cameras. We know someone who saw Artest at a bar in Portland, drank with him, and even snapped some photos of him and...who is that guy?? Artest got a little drunk, to say the least.
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