TBrowncolt and Soup got it right. My post a couple days ago saying WE have the problem -- we need to view Ron's problems like a physical injury -- was satire.
Thanks, you two, for having a little suspicion.
I do think Ron's exceptional abilities (and "exceptional" includes his rather odd rationality) need to be considered. But I'll stick with what I said in a former thread: my best hope is that the tough love of Larry and Rick will somehow win the day.
But on to this thread's topic:
Number 1: you gotta love the drama and comedy that evolves from Artest. Of course, you have to distance yourself a bit emotionally as a Pacer fan. But, really, think about how this guy contrasts with Birdlisle.
Larry Bird and Rick are the essence of control. Rationality. There's not an obstacle they can't overcome. And they will work and work and work until they do.
Confronted with a rebellious punk? No problem. Give him a straight up talking to, watch him turn it around or walk away. This is how the world works. (Maybe Tinsley was this way).
Sign up an eager, well-behaved solid citizen (Croshere?). If he performs, play him. If not, he takes his medicine and sits. Because that's rational. That makes sense. This is the way the world works. It's basic reality.
Enter Artest. For the first time, Bird and Rick don't know exactly what to do with this guy. Can you see the humor here?
He's not exactly rebellious. Not chronically. He's always quick to apologize.
You can't deal with him from the angle of performance or effort. He performs better than just about everybody, and he arguably gives more effort than anyone in the league.
He's a moving target. Rick and Bird don't know exactly how to approach the problem. The guy is crazy. Or is he crazy like a fox?
Number 2: Here's another interesting and refreshing aspect to the Artest phenomenon: He's not completely about the NBA. Have you heard of anyone else considering getting out of the league because he might do something else?
Sure, you can say he doesn't have a snowball's chance in the recording industry. But that's not the point. The point is that, in his mind, HE DOESN"T NEED THE NBA! He says he has enough money. He's got other interests. He 's got family and other challenges that are bigger than the NBA. He believes there's alot more to life than basketball.
Know anyone else in professional sports thinking this way? There certainly ain't many.
Kinda reminds me of Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire dissing the Olympics for his beliefs. (Then he spends his life as a missionary in China). I'm not saying this is completely analogous. This isn't about God or religion.
Or is it? Maybe more of us than would like to admit take sports WAY too seriously. And money. And when a guy like Artest comes along and thinks outside the fame and materialistic box, it throws us all for a loop.
If you read his crazy ramblings on Indystar.com, I think perhaps you'll find a bit of this mentality in there. He keeps saying: Hey, if I don't want to play basketball, or be in the NBA, or make lots of money, I don't have to. I'm a man. I can do what I want. Don't put me in your materialistic American box.
Now, realistically, he won't do it. He's already backing away. But isn't it damn refreshing to hear a professional athlete even talk this way?
I think it's worth thinking about.