View Full Version : Vescey's interesting take on the Artest situation

11-12-2004, 09:55 AM
Don't agree with all of it, but it is worth reading.



PINE TIME:Ron Artest was forced to sit out two-game benching imposed by Pacers coach Rick Carlisle because he "compromised the integrity of the team" by asking for some time off. EPA
Email Archives
Print Reprint

November 12, 2004 -- ANYBODY with a child or who once was one surely is familiar with the book, "Henry & The Ant." A guy's cooking a nice dinner, spots the little creature crawling in his kitchen and completely busts up the place in an effort to get rid of it.
Rick Carlisle is Henry. Ron Artest is the ant.

Early this week the Pacers' All-Star broached to his coach the blasphemous possibility of taking off a month to rest numerous injuries and to promote an R&B CD on his record label due out in two weeks. Those weren't his only misspoken words during that conversation, which apparently grew contentious.

"Nothing came out right," Artest said with a sigh via cell phone Wednesday night shortly after Indiana's worst home loss (to my Paper Clips) in NBA franchise history.

Considering the sacrilegious subject matter, how could it come out right? At the same time, considering how tightly Carlisle is wound how could it not be taken in the worst way imaginable?

In Carlisle's wholesome world, Artest "compromised the integrity of the team." Wow! Now there's a mouthful, whatever that means. The very next day he amended his indictment. Displaying a slight mischievous grin, reporters were alerted, "This isn't the Cuban missile crisis."

Artest's misguided missile falls far short of either national security or National Basketball Association security, I submit. In Carlisle's un-preoccupied mind a player foolish enough to think out loud to teammates and the coach about time off to advance a hobby though no crime remotely suspendable was committed is justification for a minimum two-game benching.

Meanwhile, look whose team, already seriously short-staffed, got caught in a compromising position as a result, a 102-68 loss. So much for pontificating about the player breaching the integrity of the Pacers.

Meanwhile, what did Artest do that's so wicked, so deserving of being shown up publicly, so awful that his coach would leave him wide open to be mocked by the mindless? Anybody who has been tailgating Artest's career understands how easily he gets distracted and led astray by anything and everyone.

As Sal Gerage, my old sports editor, would say, "That doesn't make him a bad person."

Quite the contrary; Artest is generous to a grievous fault and there's not a malicious bone in his construction site body, or a harsh thought in his head. Moreover, very few players work harder or consistently play in more pain.

What inevitably gets Artest into trouble is his impulsiveness. As a student, his seat needed to be directly in front of the teacher's desk. As a player he needs constant direction, supervision and communication.

Like most of us, he needs to be told what to do and loves to hear he's doing it right. Unlike most of us, he doesn't have someone to watch his back and bounce things off. So he bounced it off some teammates and his coach and look at the fine mess it got him into.

Yes, it's crazy for Artest to be concentrating on anything other than earning the $6,157,895 he's being paid for the '04-'05 season. But it's equally crazy for Carlisle to treat him as if he committed treason. God forbid he should try to help him, coach him through his latest bout of insanity and warped sense of priority.

Tell me this couldn't have been handled more discreetly behind closed doors. Tell me this witless situation couldn't have been handled in house. Tell me Carlisle couldn't have simply told Artest, "It ain't happening," and moved on.

Instead, he further destabilized an already fragile psyche and subjected him to uncalled for scrutiny and ridicule from bonehead analysts.

It's not as if Artest would have argued, rebelled, sulked or put his aggressive style on cruise control. It's not as if he would have fought Carlisle's decision in any shape or form.

"I would've just gone out and played hard like always," Artest said. "I know I should be focusin' on basketball and nothin' else. It's just my body's hurtin'. I figured if I gave it some rest I could take care of business while I was out."

That's what's most amusing about this latest full-scale attack on Artest; all he wanted to do is to promote a record, not enlarge one like so many others in the league. Interestingly, the same people viciously burying him for his flaky rap don't get nearly as offended by those with rap sheets.

As for Carlisle, next time Artest starts talking irrationally, I suggest he follow Henry's example. The next time that ant showed up in his house, Henry looked the other way.

Oh, yeah, Artest assures me he plans to donate all CD profits to feed Latrell Sprewell's family.

11-12-2004, 09:58 AM
"h, yeah, Artest assures me he plans to donate all CD profits to feed Latrell Sprewell's family'


11-12-2004, 10:06 AM
SO Rick's the heavy here is that it? He'd prefer Rick (the Pacers) take the Isaih Thomas approach and ignore Ron's distractions? Haven't we already seen where that got us?

11-12-2004, 10:17 AM
It looks like the major problem for the Pacers management was that Ron told his teammates he needed a vacation and was taking one.

This obviously didn't set well with the teammates and Rick wound up telling Ron after a heated discussion, "All right damn it, you want a vacation, I'll give you one. You're not playing at least for the next two games."

I think it's about as simple, yet complicated, as that.

One can't help but notice Ron was brandishing covers for his new Allure CD last night to the TV cameras, so there may have been some method to the madness originally. But, I'd imagine, probably what happened is that his advisors told him, "Might as well make the best of this, when you meet with the talking heads, don't forget the Allure CD cover."

If the Pacers get back to business and Ron lives his promise that the vacation nonsense is over for the rest of the season, then all of this will seem inconsequential and nothing more than a clever publicity hype for Ron's music venture.

I know one thing. If Ron is playing well for the Pacers on Allure's CD release date, Nov. 23rd, right? Well, if he's playing well then, I'm buying the damn CD as a show of support for one of the crazy in a nice way Pacers we've ever seen.

11-12-2004, 10:43 AM
I can't figure out Vecsey's agenda here.

Rick is coaching for the long haul, this team isn't judged by whether they beat the Clippers, while injury riddled, on the second night of a back-to-back in two time zones, in freaking November.

One loss in no way invalidates Carlisle's decision nor his ability to coach the team as he sees fit.

Vecsey has issues sometimes, but he's not normally that short-sighted.

I guess Ron's giving him a 0.5% of first day CD royalites. :shrug:

Slick Pinkham
11-12-2004, 12:04 PM
I can't figure out Vecsey's agenda here.

Vecsey seemed to always put the Pacers in the best possible light when his friend Isiah was here, and now he seeks to demonize them at every opportunity.

He has lots of contacts but his opinions seem to always be colored more by his personal biases than facts.

11-12-2004, 12:33 PM
But Vecsey and DW have been friends since high school.

11-12-2004, 12:41 PM
Rick is coaching for the long haul

What's your difinition of "the long haul"? Larry says coaches are only worth keeping for 3 years. That means Rick will only be here through next season.

11-12-2004, 12:50 PM
When Vescey coached, he functioned more as a pal and a cheerleader.

I wonder if he has ever wondered what went wrong and he was not able to continue coaching?

Maybe he should go without commenting, just sit back, and take a lesson in how to handle one's players.

11-12-2004, 01:23 PM
Rick is coaching for the long haul

What's your difinition of "the long haul"? Larry says coaches are only worth keeping for 3 years. That means Rick will only be here through next season.

I meant "beyond the next game/ week", because Vecsey was taking such a short-sighted approach.

I think your point is valid, however, that at some time Bird will want to move on without Rick.

11-12-2004, 02:18 PM
If it is true that there were some issues between Ron and JO and that the team was ticked at Ron's latest distraction then Rick had to do something, I think Rick tried to keep it low key, he never wanted it to get this kind of publicity, and I'm sure he cringes anytime Ron is interviewed like he has been. Ron is not malicious but he is very childish and needs at times to be treated as a child. We don't know the whole story or what else was involved in Rick's decision to bench him. Vescey loves to take the contrary approach and since everyone is ridiculing Ron so badly he turned it onto Rick. I think it was a cheap shot at Rick, but Vescey is full of cheap shots!

I'm glad we have a game tonight, maybe we can all shift our focus to moving forward! Enough already.