Artest hype is tiring
by Eddie Johnson / January 19, 2006
I have been watching this Ron Artest situation and the more I think about it, the more upset I get. How dare one player effectively destroy an organization that has been built to be successful throughout its history?
The Pacers not only have had hard-working and classy players like Reggie Miller, but also respectable people like Donnie Walsh running things upstairs.
Walsh does not deserve this. Better yet, let me throw in Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson as well. These three people suffered the most from what happened last year when Artest decided to fight the whole Palace of Auburn Hills.
Yes, O’Neal and Jackson were at fault, but they were protecting a teammate – which ended up costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Walsh probably was encouraged by a number of people to get rid of Artest this summer, but he stayed by him and brought him back to Indy. The loyalty these three people showed with their actions should have been etched in Artest's brain, but apparently it was not enough for one of the most selfish athletes to ever play the game.
How dare he not come back to the Pacers and try to be a model citizen? What right does he have to complain about anything after he broke up a potential championship team last year?
I don’t blame O’Neal and the rest of the Pacers for not wanting him back.
The optimism of maybe having a great year in Pacerland has been disrupted by one individual two years in a row. He ruined the last season of one the greatest class acts in the NBA – Reggie Miller – and now he is trying to make life miserable for everyone else because he wants to put himself in position to get a large contract. One would think that considering the situation, Artest would have been humbled by what happened, that he would stay quiet all year.
That said, I believe the Pacers have made a big mistake by banishing him from the team and here is why... By sending a message that they no longer want him, teams have effectively banded together and refused to offer face value. Now the Pacers are stuck with an ungrateful, selfish and overrated player.
Seeing what other teams are offering for him, Artest should realize that those squads don’t trust him either. It's understandable. No way they are going to give up a quality player for a selfish and talented one that could possibly destroy their chemistry.
If I were the Pacers, I would give him away for young players and draft choices. Forget about the star-for-star scenario because, quite frankly, he is not a star. What has he won? Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal and Steve Nash are true stars. Those are guys that play the game with an unselfish attitude. They care about their teammates.
What Artest should be made to realize is that the NBA owes him nothing. This league was here before him and it will survive without him.
It already has two years going!