Ron Artest has worked long and hard, but he finally has become the most disturbed NBA player of all time

on 10 16, 2009

Most thought it would take a lot of work to displace Dennis Rodman as the NBA’s madman.  Someone’s done it.  Ron Artest is hands down the most mentally disturbed basketball player ever.  Rodman pales in comparison.  Maybe if we added up all the early 2000’s Jail Blazers, that would amount to the insanity that Artest brings to the table.  Let’s take a stroll down memory lane with our buddy Ron, shall we?

In 1999, before his rookie season, Artest applied for a part time job at a Circuit City in Chicago.  But the Bulls stopped him.  Apparently he wanted the employee discount.  Artest: “I thought it would be fun.  And I had a friend who worked there.”  Later in 1999, he was fined $5,000 and sent home from the league’s rookie orientation program for missing a meeting. Jerry Krause said Artest overslept and had a friend in his room when visitors weren’t allowed.

In 2001, Ron was suspended for one game and fined $7,500 for fighting with Glenn Robinson.  Later that year, he broke two of Michael Jordan’s ribs during a pickup game. “I’m not sure what happened,” Artest said, “I was just guarding him. I was just trying to get position because he was posting me up.  I don’t even recall him stopping for a brief second. … I read it in the paper and was like, ‘Man, Mike’s ribs got broke. How’d his ribs get broke?’”

In 2002, Artest was traded to the Pacers.  Ok, no problems here, right?  Wrong.  Later in 02, his girlfriend Jennifer Palma, the mother of one of Artest’s sons, accused him of grabbing her around the neck and by the arm during an argument. No charges were filed, but she was given a protective order, which Artest allegedly violated several days later by calling her.

How could 2002 be any worse?  Artest, back with Kimsha Hatfield, his girlfriend for eight years and the mother of his two oldest children, called the police claiming that she hit and scratched him. They’re now married.  A match made in heaven!  You thought that was it for 2002?  You were sorely mistaken.  He was fined $10,000 for shoving Raja Bell and not leaving the court in a timely manner after his ejection.

2003 wasn’t exactly kind to Ron either.  He was suspended three games and fined $35,000 for smashing video equipment after a loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.  Then he was suspended four games, costing him $84,000, after confrontation with Pat Riley on the sidelines during the game, then flipping his middle finger at the fans in Miami.  The incident got worse in the fourth quarter when Artest scored and was fouled, and flexed his right arm while walking toward the Miami bench.  Heat assistant coach Keith Askins exchanged words with Artest, who brushed against Riley.  Riley, who was already pissed because of an Artest flagrant foul on Caron Butler, began shouting with Artest and shoved him away.

He was then suspended one game by Pacers for smashing a framed picture of himself in Conseco Fieldhouse (huh?), suspended six games for too many flagrant fouls on Bonzi Wells, Eric Snow, and Paul Pierce, and fined $20,000 for making an obscene gesture to the crowd in Cleveland.  This was all 2003.  No, seriously.  My head is spinning.

On to 2004.   He made his first all-star appearance by changing and mismatching his shoes throughout the game, in the hopes of landing a shoe contract.   Then he got suspended one game for elbowing Derek Anderson.  He was fined $10,000 for making an obscene gesture during Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons.  He took a shot at Richard Hamilton’s masked face and was called for a flagrant foul late in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Said Artest of the call: “(Hamilton’s) so skinny that they [the referees] didn’t see it.”

Still in 04, he was benched for two games after he asked for time off to promote the release of his upcoming rap album. “When I decided I wanted to leave the game or take a month off, I’m a grown man,” Artest said.  “It doesn’t make me crazy to want to do something that I want to do… You can be anything you want to be….I want to be a musician.  I want to own my own label and I want to be MVP and win the championship of the NBA.  I feel I can do anything I want to do.  I have two goals this year.  I want to go platinum or have my girls, Allure, go platinum, and win the NBA championship.”

In November of 2004, Artest ran into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills to attack a fan who threw (precious beer) a cup at him.  Two days later, he was suspended for the rest of the season.  Artest pleaded no contest to assault and battery charges and was sentenced to a year of probation, community service, and anger management counseling.  He missed 73 regular-season games and 13 playoff games in total, while losing $4,995,000 in salary.

Wow…on to 2005 we go!  Before the season, Artest said: “I’m going to continue playing hard and out of control, like a wild animal that needs to be caged in.”  Then, appearing on the cover of Penthouse, he said in the interview that he wanted to box Ben Wallace on pay per view.

In another interview, Artest suggests the Pacers trade him. “If the trade rumors, if there is any truth, maybe it won’t be a bad thing.  They probably could win more games without me. … If I go to the West Coast, I would come back to New York after my contract is up. … I would go to Cleveland.  I wouldn’t mind coming off the bench behind LeBron James.  There’s a lot of players I wouldn’t mind coming off the bench behind.”  Artest also criticized coach Rick Carlisle, who benched him for two games. “I like Coach [Carlisle] as a person, but I don’t like playing for Coach. I like my team, though. … Don’t get it twisted.  He’s a very good coach.  He knows what he’s doing.  I personally don’t like playing for him.”

He was placed on the inactive list, then fined $10,000 for making public statements that he wanted to be traded.   He then changed his mind and said everything is OK.

2006 was a modest year for him.  His self-titled CD hit the stores and he told the New York Post that his New Year’s resolution is to: “Teach math classes in elementary schools throughout the country. And, of course, I want to sell 10 million records.”

He’s almost traded to the Kings for Peja Stojakovic, but the trade falls through because Artest doesn’t want to play in Sacramento. He then accepts the trade to the Kings after talking to the Maloof brothers.

In 2007, dogs owned by Artest spent 77 nights at a pound because of poor care by Artest, costing him $1,942 in boarding and impound fees.  Artest is out indefinitely with Kings after a domestic violence arrest.  He apologizes and rejoins the team.  Artest is charged with four misdemeanors charges:  battery, corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment, and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, stemming from the domestic dispute at his home.  He pleads not guilty to misdemeanor domestic dispute charges.   He’s ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from his wife and children until further notice.

Ron has a quiet few years in 2008 & 2009, but there’s still a few highlights!  How could we forget this one?  ”I remember when I used to play back home in the neighborhood there were always games like that.  I remember one time, one of my friends, he was playing basketball and they were winning the game.  It was so competitive, they broke off a piece of leg from a table and they threw it and it went right through his heart and he died right on the court.”  He also asked his Twitter followers what jersey number he should wear for this season.  He picked 37 for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” staying on top of the charts for 37 straight weeks and proceeded to make this rap tribute to MJ.

I rest my case… Ron Artest is unequivocally the most insane basketball player ever.  What the hell was he like as a kid?  I’m honestly not sure how he’s still in the NBA.   But hey, no worries Lakers fans!  You’ll be fine!  I’m sure he’ll shape up!  On second thought…