This is from Mark Montieth's latest blog on Indystar.com. Whether you agree with the premise of the entire article, there was one line in the story that really caught my eye. I've put it in bold.
May 04, 2007
Heroes or villains?
Posted by Mark Montieth
Iíve never done it, and never will. But if I were forced to make a list of the 10 favorite Indiana Pacers Iíve covered over the last 10 years, Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson probably would be on it.
I guess I just love thugs.
No, actually, itís because people can be complicated. That, and the fact everyone grows up in a different environment, with their own set of challenges.
Both players have made plenty of news in the past year or so _ the past week or so, for that matter. Some of it negative, some of it exaggerated. They tend to lead undisciplined lives and can be disruptive if they arenít comfortable in their surroundings. Artest has gone a step beyond into dangerous behavior that needs some form of treatment.
I was in both of their homes when they played for the Pacers _ yes, they were there, too _ and traveled to both of their hometowns. One of Artestís AAU coaches drove me through his Queensbridge neighborhood on a Sunday evening, where we watched what appeared to be drug deals taking place on dark street corners. Jacksonís mother drove me around Port Arthur, Tex., showing me the home he bought her, the home he grew up in and the church he attended every Sunday.
I donít think of Artest as someone who went into the stands to confront a fan who threw a beer on him, or whoís had domestic issues with his wife. I donít think of Jackson as someone who went into the stands to support Artest, or was run over by a convicted felon in the parking lot of a strip club.
I think of two guys who love basketball, have used it to escape difficult surroundings, are routinely unassuming, engaging and generous, and have initiated grassroots charity efforts in the hometowns where they beat the odds.
And, by the way, two guys who are coachable when coached by people who know how to utilize their skills and command respect.
Artest witnessed domestic abuse and experienced divorce as a child, although he has a close relationship with both of his parents now. Jackson never had a relationship with his biological father and his stepfather was in jail for 13 years of his childhood.
Who did you expect them to turn out to be, Theo Huxtable?
People who rarely step foot out of the suburbs might love to toss the T-word on them, but I have a different word for them.
Is this another shot at Carlisle, or am I making too much out of this?
It almost appears that he is saying the Pacers could have still had these two guys, and had them be productive and well behaved, if someone other than Carlisle had been the coach.
Or maybe he is just having post-season seller's remorse.
Again, maybe I'm just reading too much into that part of the story, but I thought it was interesting, overall.