Interview With Sacramento Kings Forward Ron Artest: “I Keep It 100%”

There is no denying Ron’s positive effect on Queensbridge

This interview was conducted this summer in Long Island as Ron was getting ready for the season–just days after the referee gambling scandal hit the press.

Ron Artest has been through a lot since coming out of St. Johns eight years ago and it’s been well documented. I wanted to do this interview to give fans a more well rounded opinion because of how Ron’s been vilified before and after The Brawl. I’m thankful Ron agreed to do this because most athletes would remain reticent and never speak again to the press. I would see tidbits of him giving back to the community and wondered if this cat is so much of a monster, then why do children all over the nation seem to love him? He’ll tell you he’s responsible for the public perception of him because of his rebellious relationship with authority early on in his career. He’s made a fair share of mistakes, but it’s not the whole story and we all know how the media runs with negativity.

Yes, athletes make millions of dollars to play a game–we all understand that. It also would be ridiculous to think and publicly say sports fans have a right to act like fools at a sporting event just because they’ve shelled out hard earned money. To some of us, athletics is more than entertainment. Fans and media heap undeserving amounts of blame on athletes while the world loudly crumbles around them.

America dropped the ball after what happened in Detroit that night by not properly scrutinizing fan behavior. The athletes involved lost millions of dollars, but what about John Green or the foolish fans that came on the court only to be clocked by Jermaine O’Neal?

It must be noted Ron does an amazing amount of charity work in communities all over the nation. He doesn’t want it all publicized, but it’s criminal that almost none of it gets any media shine.

Ron this season is averaging a very respectable 19 points, 6 rebounds and four assists as the Kings come off their second road win in New Jersey last night 106-101.

This is a very compelling interview. Ron is honest about his professional career, is very contrite about his transgressions and acutely aware of his place in society. Read this very carefully and speak your mind candidly afterwards.


Michael Tillery: Specifically Ron, how will this referee scandal affect the league?

Ron Artest: Guys are making a lot of money playing basketball. Some come from the ghetto; some come from more established means. We all play for the love. When they are on the court, they aren’t thinking about money. I am not thinking about money when I am on the court. All I want to do is win. When you have people affecting the game…mainly middle aged to older white men, it affects everything you live for. It makes you wonder what have I been playing for? What have I been working my butt off for? It’s really a bad situation for everyone, but specifically for players like me that came out of the ghetto and worked really hard to get to where we are. At the same time, God is a forgiving God. Some people are good people. Tim Donaghy was a good guy to me. He probably gave me some techs, but never really offended me. I just hope he becomes a better person out of all of this.

MT: He ever eject you?

RA: He probably ejected me a couple of times, but I don’t really have a problem with referees. If a referee makes a call that I don’t agree with, I separate myself from the moment. It’s just a part of the game. I just expect calls not to go my way (Ron subtlety laughs these words). It was frustrating early on in my NBA playing career. I can see why Rasheed Wallace gets frustrated at times. I think that players know the game. The players know what a good call is and what’s a bad call–as a body–all four hundred and fifty players. You put those all the players in the NBA in a room and talk about calls? You are going to get some good feedback. Many players complain. I don’t think every player could be wrong. At the end of the day, basketball is basketball. I know you have many rule changes. They changed the rules for Shaq. They changed the rules when Barkley was backing down. Naismith did not create this for the game to be changed. I can see how the rule changes would help Tim get involved. I can see how he could mask calls because everything is really up for interpretation. I just hope he becomes a better person.

MT: Do you think this is an isolated incident and does this scandal make you look at questionable calls in the past and wonder if they were authentic? That maybe there was some underlying reason why a specific call was made at a critical juncture in a specific game?

RA: Two things. The first thing is that in the present climate that has caused the public to look at the game more closely, there are obviously calls that were questionable. I don’t know how they are going to pinpoint those exact calls or look at those games as a whole, but some calls were like wow! Was I a part of some of those games?

Secondly, it’s fun playing against the other team and the referees. I’ve said this before. Sometimes we go into the game knowing that we are going to play against a certain opponent and certain refs. It’s not that it’s the referees fault; it’s just how the game goes sometimes. Some refs just miss some calls. It makes you wonder why. Sometimes you can tell a ref that he missed a call. He’ll go in at halftime, come back out, and say either “Ron, I missed that one, or I didn’t miss this one.” That’s how I communicate. I just take it as a challenge. Many teams that win championships….like Detroit, I think they took that championship from the Lakers. Some teams are just given championships and I feel some other teams take them. For Cleveland to have won the championship this year, they had to take it. Sometimes you have to go out there and play. Referees can’t predict the outcome all the time. I’ve worked hard on my jump shot because I felt that I was fouled consistently when I went to the hole.

I remember in Game 6 against Detroit, I went through Tayshaun Prince and the ref called an offensive foul. It’s not my fault that I’m 260. What am I supposed to do about that? Therefore, I worked on my jumper and now that I can shoot, they can’t call a foul when I hit my jumper and slide my feet. That’s why I work so hard on my defense. They can’t stop me from hitting my jumper because players don’t want to get up on me. I think they favor the lighter player when you are in the post. It’s frustrating like me and other bigger guys because it’s guys out there flopping. This was never a rule in ‘85 when Michael Jordan was playing, Bill Laimbeer, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley…or even back in the day with Bob Cousy. Since all these players from overseas have come into the NBA, they have added flopping. That’s not how we play. That’s not how Charles Barkley played. That’s not how Oscar Robertson played. That’s not how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played. That’s not how Reggie Miller played. We are constantly adjusting to new rules.

Sometimes I don’t call it basketball; I call it base-ket-ball. It’s just like a new game. (Ron chuckles) God gave me the ability to play base-ket-ball. Overall though, the NBA is a fun organization and I’m blessed to be playing in it.

MT: I personally feel that you are one of the top players in the league. You’ve always been defensive minded and have over the course of your career become a complete offensive player. In the last couple of years you haven’t been given the total respect you certainly deserve as a defensive stopper–you hear the names Bruce Bowen and Ben Wallace as being the top defensive players in the NBA. What makes your defensive focus a priority?

RA: That’s how I grew up. I grew up always wanting to play defense–always wanting to lock down my man. The year I won defensive player of the year, I had one of the best years defensively that has ever been seen in the NBA. There was a statistic that saw me hold players I guarded to six or eight points. I held TMac to like seven or nine points that year. One month Kobe was averaging thirty-five and I held him to eighteen–I did that this year too. Bruce Bowen is a good defender. I think he’s good for basketball. From a business standpoint, I think there are many guys that are good for basketball when you mention awards. They help keep the NBA relevant. I’m more like the ‘hood side of things. People in the ‘hood recognize me as the best defender. There’s many people in sports that recognize me as the best defender. One thing I have to stop saying is that it’s all about the hood, because sometimes it’s more of a top media thing. They give the public direction on where they want the public to go. Whenever I go into the masses in every hood in every state, the public tells me that I’m the best defender. If you put all the players in the NBA in a room and ask them who is the best defender in the league or even at the wing position, I’d get the majority of the votes.

MT: Give me your top five players in the league.

RA: Top five in the league? 1. Tim Duncan, 2. Steve Nash, 3. LeBron James, 4. Dwyane Wade–hold up!

Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant–let me change that up real fast, Shaq–definitely. I gotta put Steve Nash and Jason Kidd together, because that’s a toss up right there–a major tossup.

MT: Where would you put yourself?

RA: I definitely feel like I’m one of the top players in the game. I would say top seven. A lot of organizations feel that way too. That’s what’s really important that the organizations and players want me on their team. A few organizations don’t want me on their team because of my history and the whole image thing. People who know the real Ron Artest are fine with what I bring to the table so they would be comfortable with what I would contribute to the organization. There’s always two sides to me. There’s a true rebel and a caring person who feels the importance of my place in this world and what I can give back to it. Both sides are no nonsense.

MT: Scenario for you. Hypothetically, a youngster is wearing your jersey and his parents hear in the news that you get into a domestic altercation. His father tells his child to take your jersey off and throw it into the trash. What would you say to the father and also the child?

RA: That’s a good question. I know if my son was wearing someone’s jersey and they got into some trouble, I wouldn’t want him to look up to that dude. You want your kids to look up to good people–the most perfect person if possible. I was in the hood the other day and a lot of the parents and other people were showing a lot of love. When you grow up in the projects, you grow up a certain way and it takes a lot to get out of that way of growing up. When I went through of getting charged for a domestic misdemeanor…

MT: Tell me what happened.

RA: Basically, how me and my wife grew up, we have to leave that in the past. We grew up seeing parents fight. That was just kind of normal for someone growing up in the ghetto. I think you have to really reach the root to solve the problem. We came here as slaves–separated from our mothers and fathers. Mothers were sometimes separated from kids, raped, and burned. It was a domino effect on our minds. I think that’s why I’ve seen a lot of violence. I think that’s why my mother has seen violence–her parents fighting. I think that’s why a lot of black people see their parents fight until they get out that environment. Then the black family is able to make it better for their kids and so forth and so on. I’m in a situation where I’m making it better for my kids so they won’t see the stuff that I’ve seen. They can make it even better for their kids. I’m at a point that I have to realize that I am older–my wife does too. Certain things just aren’t worth risking my career and being apart of.

MT: What do you love the most about your wife?

RA: I’ve known my wife since I was fourteen–so for thirteen years. She’s a real good girl. She’s a sweetheart. She’s always been there for me. She always has my best interests at heart. When the brawl in Detroit happened, she wanted me to have my own lawyer. She’s a real fighter. She never wants me to give into to people who don’t have my best interests in mind. She’s always right when offering advice on friends or mistakes that I’ve made. She’s there for me now.

MT: Why is it important for you to give back to children?

RA: I think it’s important and should be especially a priority for me to give back to black people. I’m going to Honduras. They need my resources in Latin America. (Ron went to Honduras with Feed the Children in August and helped distribute food to families living in poverty). There’s a lot of poverty and neglect in the world and in our own country. I was also in Indiana and gave back to a poor white community that had a high dropout rate. BUT I have to give back to my people first and foremost. I know a lot of specifically black people that don’t give back. They change. I haven’t changed because of the money. You have kids that have gone to jail for dealing drugs. Then you may have someone out there that caught a domestic violence charge and people think they can’t change. You have black kids believing that. It’s my job to tell black kids that if you make a mistake, get back up on your feet. History shows that people make mistakes.

Always available

There are probably people in big business right now that were moving drugs to my neighborhood that you know people don’t know anything about. At the end of the day, we didn’t make cocaine where I’m from or we didn’t have the machinery to make guns. We don’t have that type of power or those types of resources. The drugs infest my people–my young little black brothas and sistas. It’s my job to tell these kids that the only reason why drugs and guns are here is for you to shoot yourselves and to slow your thought process. You have two things there that can wipe ya’ll out. One of my cousins made over a million dollars in my hood. He went to jail for seven years. My other cousin was moving drugs and went to jail for ten years. One of my other cousins got his head beat with a bat right in my hood. Either that’s going to happen to you or you are going to kill one of your brothers or sisters. The drugs you give them might affect a baby about to be born. All you are doing by dealing drugs is affecting your people. You are killing your people and making a little bit of money on the side.

I have to keep it 100% true.

That’s why I always go back. I went to Africa, the motherland. That’s where my people are from. We were shipped here but I wanted to make sure I went home. The next time I go, I’m going to make a bigger difference.

It’s hard to make an impact being just me. I need more people to help.

When I go to other hoods, I treat them as if I’m from that hood. I was just in the Roosevelt section. All these hoods are my hood. That’s how I feel. I want people who are growing up in poverty, in situations where drugs and violence are prevalent and are the norm, where education is not important because survival is more important. I want these people to realize there is another path, another way of life. You don’t have to sell drugs. You don’t have to shoot people. You need to stay in school, get an education; so you can get a job you enjoy and live a healthy lifestyle–a lifestyle that doesn’t negatively impact yourself or your neighborhood.

MT: Speak about the Africa trip and why it wasn’t publicized more thoroughly. It was Etan Thomas, Maurice Evans, you and some others. I interviewed Etan for a blog I run with some talented brothas called The Starting Five. One of our many intelligent folk that comment on the blog (Jordi, who has a blog, The Serious Tip) stated that the only reason he heard about the Africa trip was through my interview with Etan. What do you want to say to the press at large right now to help them understand that Ron Artest is a good dude?

RA: I keep it 100%. I don’t know if the press knows what that means. That means you keep it 100% real. I like to know the truth. History books? I feel like I went to school for nothing! All these years? I was being taught lies–not everything obviously. I look back and say, what the hell was I going to school for? Life is bigger than sports. People don’t understand that about me. I’m so passionate about everything I do–sometimes a little too passionate. That’s why I went back to Africa. I just don’t want people to think I’m some out of control dude. That’s what people make it seem like sometime. I even have my own friend–at least I thought it was my friend–which I thought should help me. I did an interview with Mark Jackson (who attended St. John’s in the eighties). He went on air asking me if I needed some medicine. People are only saying that because I play in the league. Off the court, I’m a very different person. I’m doing all kinds of charity things. First, why should I take medicine just to play basketball? How is that going to help me? I do and have done a lot of good things off the court. I felt betrayed because I thought Mark was supposed to be looking out for me in the interview and did the opposite. There’s been a couple of people who have just thrown me under the bus who are from the hood and change when they get into a high position. People need to know that I’m a real person. You have all kinds of athletes catering to the corporate world for endorsements. Yeah I would love to do that but I’ll sacrifice that so the hood can get the attention it sorely needs. The ghetto needs someone always in their corner so they are not out there alone. When they see me come through, they just think I’m some hood dude. When people think of people like that, they think you are a thug that smokes weed and is always in the club. When I speak to people from the ghetto and kick a little bit of knowledge I’ve learned from experience, and try to help them learn from my experiences, they say, “Oh shit, this nigga is real!” This dude is real or whatever. I’m not some young, rich spoiled athlete that happened to be from the hood. My opinion of being ghetto and being hood is having intelligence while also being a strong person. I want to try to help those who are still stuck in the hood and let them know they can elevate themselves, learn from their mistakes, get an education and lead a better life.

MT: I’ve interviewed many athletes. One thing I’ve noticed about you here today that you seem to be very calm when fans approach you–of all races. I saw you taking pictures and giving autographs before you knew who I was. Why is it so important for you to be among the people and to show them that you are just a regular guy?

RA: Definitely. As much damage as I’ve–and the media–created, people need to see a different side of me. When people come in contact with me, they leave with a good impression. They get a chance to know me just for who I am. No matter what they do, the media cannot turn New York or my fans against me. They can turn everyone else against me BUT New York knows what I’m all about. They know where I’m from. They know how I grew up. They know what’s in my heart because of all the good things I’ve done here for years. I’ve been doing charity work here since I was a teenager. I do it in my sleep. I’m a caring and giving person. People in New York look past all the other media driven stuff. They see what I’m all about.

MT: Talk about the Freedom event and why you are here.

RA: My agent, Mark Stevens, is from here. I thought it was really important that I come. He was from my hood, but also grew up in Roosevelt. He’s giving back. Joe Torry, Judge Mathis and I are here. I think it’s a good way to have people come out and have community leaders let them get their necessary points across. We then can throw our two cents in there. I wish there was more gangsters here though. I wish there was more street dudes. Dudes that are in the street hustling. Kids look up to them. They don’t look up to Tiger Woods, the 9 to 5 bus driver, or the sanitation worker. They look up to the street dude. I told the people in charge that they needed to get in touch with the brothas on the street so they can give back. You can be out there doing negative dirt, but you can still give back. I ask the street dudes and hustlers: You mean to tell me that you want the next young fella to be doing the same thing as you do and end up in jail? Give your time and tell the kids that what you do isn’t right. Tell them to change their life and give them examples of your friends that didn’t make it because of the bad choices they made. Then you can go back and do your dirt, but hopefully you’ll change. Give the kids an opportunity to hear your experiences so they can make better decisions.

MT: My former fiancée, Brandi Dilks and I are watching the TV one night. Indiana is playing Detroit. As I remember, there was a hard foul on Ben Wallace?

RA: Soft foul.

Before the cup

MT: Soft foul? OK, soft foul on Ben. After you and Ben had that initial confrontation, you chose to take yourself out of the confrontation, chill and laid down on the scorer’s table. Why did you go into the crowd?

RA: What happened was…when I fouled Ben, it was a real soft foul. I didn’t expect Ben to react the way he reacted. I didn’t try to hurt Ben. Yes, I foul people hard. It’s part of the game. I have never intentionally tried to hurt anyone. Hard fouls happen in the flow of the game. Ben came back at me. I didn’t want to fight. I was having a good season. I got a couple of nice endorsements that I was happy about. I had three NBA commercials. I had my LA Gear deal. I had just shot the commercial with Spike Lee. My career was about to take off. I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that. When Ben Wallace pushed me and attacked me–I think Tim Donaghy was at that game too…

MT: Wow!

RA: Ben was supposed to be ejected too. I gave the refs at least three minutes to eject this guy man. I didn’t see anyone ejected. So, now this guy is attacking me. I tried to lie down. It was hard because Ben Wallace is strong. They can’t even hold him back. He’s throwing towels at me and hitting me in the eye with his wristband. So now I’m like this monster…Ben Wallace is a beast! They can’t even stop him during the game of getting offensive rebounds so they can’t stop him from getting to me either. He was getting closer and closer. I was trying to lie down, but how am I going to lay down if this dude is throwing stuff at me. Then this other dude throws something at me so I gotta….

If it were just Ben and I, I would have fought him. It was too many people around to be looking like a fool fighting. I just didn’t want to do that. You know what I’m sayin? We would have looked like two girls. Bottom line, the referees didn’t eject him, it cost me six million dollars, a bunch of other good stuff I was doing that year, and it made me look real real bad. Then all you heard was people saying that Ron Artest was going into the stands! They never said that John “white dude” Green threw beer at me. They still don’t say that and it’s how many years later? They don’t say that I was lying on the table for three minutes. They don’t say Ben Wallace should have been ejected. They don’t say that I didn’t start that whole fight.

They just say that I went into the stands.

MT: Did you have any idea the whole situation was going to be as big as it turned out to be?

RA: Nah, not really. People still bring it up. They never talk about how this dude threw beer in my face and it got all into my eyes and stuff.

MT: Are most fans good people?

RA: Yes, of course! I can hand select the fans who are just a-holes throughout the whole league. Some of them are just obnoxious but 99.9, eh, 99.7%, they are good people.

MT: Everything is cool with Ben and yourself?

Yeah, Ben is my boy.

There are times that Elton Brand and I got into it, but that is my boy. I grew up with Elton.

MT: You played AAU together right?

RA: Yeah, AAU. Same thing with Lamar Odom. We’ve gotten into a fight before. That’s my man. I love Lamar.

I didn’t grow up with Ben, but that’s my brotha. You know? He was mad because I fouled him. They were losing. The Pacers was on their way to winning the championship that year. I would have been mad too. That incident had nothing to do with Ben. That’s my brotha. That had to do with other things.

MT: How does the rest of the league perceive you? Do they see you as the monster you are portrayed by the media? Do they see you as another person playing professional basketball as they are?

RA: Players know I play hard. You can’t relate to everybody. Not everybody is going to understand you. Not everyone grew up the same. The league was brought up on hardcore players. What team was the first to bring in a black player?

MT: The Celtics.

RA: The black African took the league to another level. It became a nice little melting pot with all the foreigners that are playing today. The league is probably mostly black right?

MT: Yeah, somewhere between 80 and 85%.

RA: I’m just one of those dudes that when I do something, it is over publicized. Ever since the brawl, I’ve been cast in a negative light. For the most part, dudes are doing a good job. The fans are coming out. You have guys like Dwyane Wade–who is good people. Le Bron James is a funny and colorful guy. He is a star and good people.

MT: Who are some of your friends in the league besides Lamar Odom and Elton Brand?

RA: I got a lot of friends. I played with Speedy Claxton four years when we were in high school. Speedy was our point guard along with Eric Barkley. Steve Jacks (Stephen Jackson) is cool. Dale Davis is cool. I’ve met a lot of people over the years. Kobe is real cool. We’ve had so many wars together, we don‘t have a choice but to be cool. Of course, he’s got the rings, but I was that dude that is just…tough. Every time you play against me, you know it’s going to be on. The way I play has given me a lot of friends because they respect what I do on the court. I talk to players all the time during dead balls.

MT: Did you and Stephen Jackson develop a bond after the brawl?

RA: Yeah…I kind of wish I never would have walked out like that on my team. I love Jeff Foster. He’s a monster. I would do anything for Jeff Foster. I wish I never let that pressure get to me. I never wanted to go back to Detroit in a Pacers uniform because of everything that happened. Everything I worked for almost went down the drain and it wasn‘t entirely my fault but, Some white dude–John Green–threw beer in my face and my whole career was almost over. I never wanted to go back to Detroit ever–regardless of what uniform I was wearing. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of that. Now I’m with Sacramento. Even going back to Indiana is kind of hard. It’s hard going back to Indiana to play knowing that’s where I wanted to finish my career. I wanted to finish with Jermaine O’Neal, Steve, Jeff Foster and Jamaal Tizzy (Tinsley). I guess now I’m a little bit older and those pressures aren’t there anymore.

MT: The things that happened in Indiana–especially at the end–would you attribute it more to business dealings? The Pacers and your camp seemed so far apart. Was it really that much animosity? We read you wanted to go back to Indiana. Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh made some statements saying–and I’m paraphrasing–they didn’t know what to do with you.

RA: There was a lot of pressure from the brawl.

I initiated everything–saying that I wanted to be traded. People just didn’t know just how much I didn’t want to go back to Detroit. I just felt that something was going to happen. I felt like somebody was going to do something stupid and I was going to go up in there and smack the crap out of somebody (I laugh, but Ron does not). When I said I wanted to be traded, that’s not what I wanted at all. I didn’t have a chance to think. I wanted to take five and think about what I wanted for my career. My ego got in the way. I developed an ego, which I never had. When I got into the NBA and got a little bit of money, I developed this bullshit ego thinking I was who I’m not. I was upset about my contract. I was upset that I wasn’t solidified as the go to man.

It was just bullshit on my behalf. It cost me some friendships that could have progressed. I could have gotten to know Jermaine a little better. I could have gotten to know Stephen Jackson a little better. Jamaal Tinsley. It’s something I truly regret to this day. I always wish…if I had an opportunity to play with that team again? I think that I might. With that same team. I’d give everything up to do that. Not just the stars either. The whole team.
The Pacers were in a situation where they didn’t know what I was going to do next. I can’t fault the decisions they made.

MT: There was video of you flashing the CD of your group outside your car. Was that just you being an entrepreneur and marketing your business?

RA: People don’t understand. When David Stern suspended me, he told me that he was past the brawl. He was pretty upset over the brawl, but he seemed more upset that I came up with a rap label and saying that I was going to retire. Those were the main things that were getting to David. The main reason I was suspended was not the brawl. It was everything else. The best thing that could have happened to me was taking a leave of absence without pay. It would have given me a chance to clear my mind and then I wouldn’t have been in the brawl. I wouldn’t have been in the brawl (Ron laughs).

MT: What are you thinking about the way black athletes are portrayed? It seems like ya’ll can’t do anything right. I’m reading right here on this piece of paper in front of me what you do inside the community and I’m shocked that you’ve done so much extensively. It’s just not spoken about.

RA: It’s not spoken about.

MT: They rather talk about a cup you didn’t even throw.

RA: Yeah, yeah.

MT: Why do you think that is? It seems as if Black athletes can’t do anything good unless corporate sponsors back it.

R&B singer Ray Jay–who is part of the Freedom event–walks up. Ron, as big of a star as he is, looks stars struck.

RA: With the Michael Vick case. The same way they are promoting that story, they should have promoted the good he’s done in the past–when he was doing it. It’s very irresponsible that the media outlets only seem to promote certain things. We going to Africa should have been a big thing. At least BET should have shown it.

MT: Exactly!

RA: Somebody should have shown it. They should show me going throughout all these different neighborhoods the whole summer giving back. It’s not even about sports anymore. They just want to highlight the bad things.

Even with the referee scandal. Who knows if Tim Donaghy ever did anything good? Who knows if referees have any charity events? They should show that too. Don’t just wait for them to do something bad and totally blow it out of proportion. Now the whole world thinks the whole world is bad. People watching sports are going to think it’s all bad stuff. People are probably thinking that something bad is definitely going to happen this year. Someone gets caught in a DUI or smoking marijuana and people are going to say that that’s their life and nothing else. Athletes are just no good. They don’t want to show that Maurice Evans brought the whole tribe shoes. He was hugging the babies with AIDS. Showing all the kids love. That’s not important to the media. There are people that are not stars in the NBA that are doing good. Black, white or whatever.

MT: What percentage do you think of the league that is really giving back?

RA: Man…of course I can’t give a concrete percentage, but it’s a whole lot. Richard Hamilton gives back a lot. People don’t know about that. Baron Davis gives back to his community. A lot of the people I know give back and don’t even have the time. I personally am going to every ghetto in every state I go in. People who don’t have the time also give back with the foundations they have formed. It’s just not publicized. It should be publicized a lot more. It should be on the 10 o’clock news and CNN. What’s it going to take out of CNN’s time if they take an hour a day and publicize a bunch of good stuff?

Not just Angelina Jolie.

MT: The NBA is seen as this thug league…

RA: It’s not a thug league. Guys like Kevin Olie–from the hood–is a good guy with a beautiful family. He’s a beautiful Christian. Trenton Hassell doesn’t drink or smoke and has a beautiful family. Fred Jones doesn’t drink or smoke. He doesn’t have any kids and is a beautiful person. Grant Hill has a beautiful family and is a great person.

What about those people?

The NBA is not a thug league. There’s a couple of players that grew up similar to rappers who have grown up. What are they going to lynch us for that too? It’s not our fault that we grew up that way. We are talented and smart.

MT: You were a math major correct? How did that happen?

RA: It was my favorite subject. Thank God, I wasn’t a history major (We laugh)!

MT: What do you want your legacy to be to the game of basketball–not just the NBA, the Red Storm or high school? What are you personally giving back to the game?

RA: This is something that I never wanted to do, but I’m trying to change how people see me. It’s so hard. I know I’m going to get devils trying to shoot little bullets at me. I gotta dodge the bullets from the devils. It’s important that I go above and beyond what I have done with community service. I want to add to the thoughts of people and not just that I’m the guy who had this big fight. I want people to see my game so they will learn how to play better.

I want people to see that I’m one of the best two-way players to ever play the game.

I wasn’t the best offensive player to play. I’m not the best defensive player to ever play, but there are not that many players that have done it like I have both ways. I can lock up and score. LeBron has an opportunity to get his game to that point. Dwyane Wade too. A lot of people have that opportunity. That’s something individual. I must say that I’m not a selfish player by any means. I’ll sacrifice everything just to win a ring. I couldn’t say that a couple of years ago. I’ll be honest. I’ve always played unselfish basketball but I wasn’t totally unselfish. I was a little selfish at times. That’s where I’ve matured.

MT: During this interview, you’ve come across as very contrite. Are you truly sorry for your mistakes or is it just a façade to get in better graces?

RA: People don’t understand that after the brawl happened, in my first public appearance, I said that I was sorry.

I said I was sorry.

I didn’t know the affect it had on the league corporate wise. I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted the league to make money so all of us can keep making money. Life is not about making money, but this is my job so I want to make as much as I can so my family‘s family can be secure.

People have to put themselves in my shoes and understand that the brawl was not ENTIRELY my fault. How many people are going to let somebody push them under any circumstance? I did. I let somebody push me. I showed a lot of restraint. What about that? How many people are going to let someone throw beer in their face from rows high off the floor? There are going to be people that disagree with that.

All my mistakes? I’m definitely sorry. People that look up to me, I want them to see me doing something that’s right. I see kids doing stuff in my neighborhood like drink and other stuff and I wonder what kind of affect did I have on them. I’m at a point where I don’t want to have a negative effect on anyone. When stuff was publicized, I used to say to myself that I now have to go out and do stuff double time in communities and give them a different side of me.

If I get a chance to talk to people like you–reporting the right things–then I definitely want to affect people in a positive way.

MT: You alluded to going back to the hood. What’s it like going back as a very successful man and seeing peers you grew up in stuck in the same spot? Why are players so reluctant to give up their boys even though they might be getting them in trouble?

RA: There’s two things. In my situation, I had some friends that I didn’t grow up with so I didn’t know what kind of agenda they had. You don’t know if they love you for who you are or just for the success that you’ve gained. That’s why people don’t want to let go. They just don’t know. I think athletes should hang around people with just as much success–other than their friends. Athletes gotta trust the people that stuck by them before they made it. You don’t need fake friends. You should be around people who are ambitious and want to be better people. If you have people coming to your home and just sitting around, that’s not cool. You can’t be in my home just doing nothing days at a time.

Those people gotta go! They gotta go!!

They have to try to do something. I have two of my closest friends that moved in with me and they started working. Those people you wanna be around. Then I had some people that didn’t want to work. They didn’t want to make any money. Those type of people can’t stay with me. Then you have people that want to put your life in jeopardy. They want to smoke around you. They want to smoke in your house. Drink in your house and bring girls in your house. For all the young fellas out there that are trying to make it, you can’t be around those types of people.

It’s just too much at risk.

The same thing with the Michael Vick case. You have people who say they are your friends, but are definitely not your friends. You have to be street smarter than that to identify those types. There was times that I was street smart, but I didn’t act on it. I didn’t go with my gut feeling. My wife would tell me that I had to do this or that right now and I had to get rid of this or that person right now. I would say no baby it’s all right and something stupid would happen.

I would say, “Damn baby, you were right.”

MT: Who out there that’s in high school or college that makes you say wow?

RA: My little brother Daniel, he lead his team in the Dallas NBDL Showcase with 21 points and an 11 rebound average. People need to watch out for him. He’s a poor man’s Charles Barkley. He’s six four, three hundred pounds–muscle. He’s working hard. I’m impressed with him. I still haven’t gotten a chance to see Kevin Durant play. I’m very anxious to see him play. Everybody is telling me that he’s a very good player. I can’t wait to see him play. There’s a kid from Coney Island (Lance Stevenson). He’s the truth. I think he definitely has a chance to do good things in the league. He’s got real good skill. He’s not as athletic as he should be but everything else is right there. Oh! The kid Eric Gordon from Indiana. He’s the truth. I’ll take him on my team right now. I wish they would let young teens become professional athletes because this kid is ready.

MT: Do you see good things in store for you and the team? Are you reinvigorated playing in Sacramento? I thought conceivably you could have been one of the top MVP candidates the way you turned that team around.

RA: I think either Jermaine O’Neal or I should have won the award a couple of years back when we had the best record in the league. Steve Nash led his team to the best record and he won. It was him and Amare Stoudemire. I love Kevin Garnett–that’s my man–but the year he won it we had the best record.

They change the way they give out the MVP award every year.

I should have won MVP and Defensive Player of the Year that year.

You don’t get max money for hustling. That’s the reason why I started scoring. I don’t like to shoot fade away jumpers. I can do it though. I don’t want to play like that. I like to pass the ball and play defense. That’s not going to get you maximum money. You have to score and do all this other stuff. When I came in here, people didn’t really see the effect I had. I should have been 1st Team All NBA. They just didn’t want to give me those accolades you know. It’s alright, we had a good season that year. Bonzi Wells stepped it up. He probably would have been 1st team all playoffs or whatever.

I can’t wait for the day that I can play the way I want to play and people will respect that as a max player. I hope I can be in a situation where I don’t have to go out and average eighteen points. I want to average a little twelve points, nine or ten rebounds and a lot of hustle. It just seems like I have to go out there and score the ball just to show people that I have some skills. I can be very effective that way, but I like to share. I like to share the limelight.

I keep telling Kevin Martin that he’s the best player on our team. He keeps telling me that I am. I tell him to go out there and average 24 points and he gets his twenty and that is cool. I just want to win. I could care less about the other stuff.

MT: One last question brotha. What’s it like playing for the Maloofs and what do you expect out of the Kings this year?

RA: It’s cool playing for the Maloofs. They are different than other owners. They came to my hood last summer. Then we went to another hood. You don’t get to see billionaires in the projects without bodyguards. I respect that to the fullest. Playing for them has just been an honor.

I think if we would have kept Rick Adelman we would have been an elite team. They got rid of Adelman and got rid of Eric Mussleman. I think he wasn’t ready for the type of players he had on the team. He’s a really good person. He loves his family. He always has his family with him. I love Eric Mussleman. He’s like a brotha to me.

Reggie Theus wants to win. He wants to have a big impact. I think he has the ability to do it. He was a great player in this league. In my opinion, great players make great coaches.

I’m really looking forward to this season!

One Love to all, we out!


126 Responses to “Interview With Sacramento Kings Forward Ron Artest: “I Keep It 100%””

  1. GrandNubian Says:

    Great interview. Ron is a cool brother and i like what he’s doing off the court. I like his honesty and from reading this piece, he has really matured as a person.

  2. I hereby withdraw all bad things I ever said about Ron Artest…my apology will be posted on my blog. Thanks Mizzo and RA for opening my eyes.

  3. Wow!

    Great interview Mizzo. Ron seems real. I appreciate his honesty and love for people who are less fortunate. He’s really a good guy that the media has portrayed as some kind of animal. None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes. The question is what kind of spirit do you have? Seems like Ron has a good one. Thanks for doing this interview. I want to know the truth about people. The whole truth. Good luck Ron and keep your head up.

  4. I would have beat Jeff “white dude” Green’s ass too. I never had a problem with Artest going into the stands. People can’t throw shit at you like you’re some kind of monkey in the zoo. Now, he should have known who he was going after before he started swinging, but going into the stands made sense to me.

  5. Ron is a cool dude. I met him in NY. We took pictures and all that. I would have no problem with my child wearing his jersey. He cares about his roots. Some of these athletes are just about getting paid. They leave the hood and never look back. He’s real. He speaks about wrong even if it gets him into trouble. I admire him. Ron keep doing what you do. Hell with the media. Good interview Miz!

  6. I have to constantly remind myself that in 90% of the cases, especially in Basketball, we are talking about YOUNG cats. As long as Ron has been in the public Eye, hes STILL only TWENTY-SEVEN.

    Hell, Im THIRTY-SEVEN and im still finding my way in many respects.

    I supervise college and HS aged kids at work. I find it laughable the standards we hold them to as we pry deeeeep into their lives to embed ourselves in their psyches.

    This interview was truly eye-opening.

  7. Allen,

    I agree with you. Remember Ralphy from A Christmas Story? You don’t hit people in the face with anything unless you want a beat down. The Media totally over reacted to the brawl. It was like a mini series on tv day and night. Hockey and baseball players can fight and no one says a thing.

  8. First off…. nice interview Mizzo. I really came away thinking something different about Ron Artest.

    Michelle but almost all of those fights between Hockey and Baseball players happen in the field of play themselves. Once you go into the stands it should be treated like a different, and in some ways, worse thing. Besides what did Ron do when someone threw a cup full of beer (shameful act by the way, and one that is not being condoned here. That guy should lose his tickets and be in jail for a while. He incited a riot.) Did he go find a security guard and ask him to be thrown out? No he ran up into the stands and punched a guy in the face. Look Ron made a mistake. And it sounds to me like he knows he did, and is trying to provide a good example for the next to follow. Huzzah Ron!

  9. I’m so glad I recognized long ago that the totality of these young brothas in sports does not begin and end with ESPN’s latest headline.

    Great interview Mizzo.

  10. I truly appreciate the words folks. This isn’t about me. Ron did all the talking.

    There’s so much more I wanted to add to the intro. There’s nothing imposing or intimidating about Ron Artest–on the floor obviously is a different story.

    My objective in doing this was for people to see he’s not some monster. I came away enlightened how smart and socially adroit Ron truly is. You hear things about athletes in this business, but it’s our responsibility to paint a true picture-IMO-or we are LIARS. Plain and simple. I’m not having that on my conscious. Anyone else can do them.

    There was a all star baseball team meeting at the hotel before a NY regional game. He didn’t walk the other way when they noticed him. During the interview, I honestly was a little hot how many people were coming up to the table (he was having lunch) because I didn’t want the vibe compromised. He was calm and I came away very impressed with Ron Artest.

  11. Nice interview, I have always had respect for the man, regardless of the brawl, which wasn’t his fault any way. Glad to see he is getting some love.

  12. @mizzo

    I’m glad you toned your ranting down for this interview. I like the new interview style, you know focusing on the subject. Kudos. 😉

  13. Okori,

    I have to disagree with you. Listen the only mistake Ron made was going after the wrong person. You don’t throw anything in a persons face. The natural reaction of anyone in that situation is to go off. I love how people justify wrong like he lied but it wasn’t to a grand jury so it’s not as bad. Fighting is fighting period. Guys in the NBA should not be looked at any differently then anyone else. If the fan hadn’t hit Ron in the face and he went into the stands just because of a bad comment or something then I would agree with you. I can’t slam a person for something that I might have done myself. Players aren’t animals in a cage for fans to poke at.

  14. The ranting had its purpose. Haven’t we been through this before? 😉


  15. Let me just set the scene. You don’t know me and I’ve done nothing to you. You then get the balls to throw a cold beer at me. Hitting me in the face with the cup and getting beer in my eyes. I’m now supposed to go look for a security guard. OK… NOT!

  16. GrandNubian Says:

    I’d have to agree with you Michelle. It’s easy for us at home or the play-by-play announcers, sports analysts, etc. to say that he should’ve got security to handle it. But i can guarantee you that if they were put in the same situation, they would’ve reacted the same way or a little more to the extreme.

    People don’t understand that unless you’ve been trained to control your emotions(i.e. meditation, etc), it’s very difficult to turn them off and on like a light switch. I don’t think that the NBA, the NFL or any of the other sports have ‘self-control’ programs in place to aid in the enhancement of the professional athlete. It’s sure as hell not a prerequisite(sp) in order to play professionally.

  17. ok. look I saw the situation a bit differently than you did. Firstly you’re in a packed stadium so it’s not like you’re on Main Street in downtown Detroit. There are, or at least should be, more trained security personnel ready, willing, and capable of removing the unruly. Secondly you and I have different expected standards than Ron Artest. You and I maybe can go and chase the guy down. Ron can’t. He’s got to let himself be cool. You know why people looked at the brawl in Auburn Hills differently? Because fans and players were fighting. Ron Artest might not have been at fault, but Stephen Jackson was. And, to a lesser extent, Jermaine O’Neal was.

    The actions of EVERYONE that night were inexcusable.

  18. Okori,

    The media still over played the situation. I agree with Mizzo not enough blame was put on the fan who started the whole mess.


    Good points.

  19. Okori would you say the media collective used your last statement when reporting the incident or that NBA players are thugs and something has to be done?

    What about the fans? How can we rationally hold athletes and entertainers to a higher standard when we don’t scrutinize ourselves similarly?

    The brawl set off a chain of events the NBA will deal with for quite some time.

  20. I would think it would be much harder, I mean MUCH harder for an athlete, with adrenaline pumping, exerting full physical force – to be “cool” if someone, anyone throws something at you during the game. How can Artest or any NBA player be held to a higher standard of keeping their emotions in check during a game when it goes against basic medical science? You’re a nurse Michelle, isn’t that right?

  21. Miranda,

    Absloutely. The natural reaction is to protect your head area. Because your brain is there. How many people have had to catch themselves when hit in the face by a baby? Miranda, your points about a players adrenaline are right on. It’s almost like stopping a train at full speed when someone jumps in front of it. Not realistic. at all. Add getting hit in the face to that and the result probably 80% of the time is what you got.

  22. GrandNubian Says:

    @Miranda & Michelle

    Agreed… goes right back to what i stated about controlling an emotion. Unless you are trained to conquer an emotion under any circumstance, it’s extremely difficult to turn it off and on at will.

  23. GrownAss man Says:

    Nice interview. While I personally have been critical of Ron and many of his actions, and I think he needed counseling; and while my point of view is rarely appreciated here (not complaining, just a fact), the man wants to be a better person. It’s clear. He wants to be a man, and a good man at that. His actions support this setiment.

    I don’t know his past, and I don’t know why or where the demons he’s had have come from, so I can’t judge the man on anything more the what he’s trying to become, which is a good father and good person in his community.

    What makes him such a hard worker and great player also makes him volitile and vulnerable to outbursts, his intensity. He seems like he’s learning to channel that to great means.

    God Bless.

    P.S. Kudos to you in that interview, I don’t often buy a lot of the ESPN criticism here, but rest assure, I can’t think of any other media outlet where the interviewer would have asked the type of questions Mizzo asked. For me –at least today– this site is special, and you should be proud…..


  24. I mentioned Ralphy from the movie A Christmas Story earlier. When your hit in the face it’s shocking and most people find strength and courage they otherwise might not have to retalliate. Your brain sends messages to all areas of your body, The blood gets pumping, your pupils dialate and your ready to go kick some butt. The fight or flight response.

  25. Ron is just so much more than the brawl. He’s a great basketball player and a very charitable person who cares about his fellow man. That’s a wonderful quality to have. I really like what he had to say about deadbeat so called friends. Mike V. could have used that advice.

  26. Mike V got ratted out by FAMILY not friends. That is what made it worse in my opinion. Alas, thats what happens when you get too open with fightin dogs.

  27. DaveMac,

    Family or friends. When people become successful, people around them begin to think they now have a free ride in life. Those people need to understand my success is not your succcess. Only people who look to be productive deserve help.

  28. no MIzzo the media collective used the thug card. And that’s shameful.

    And if I had to assign a blame ratio it would go 90-percent fans, 10 percent players. And there should be a much stricter policy in regards to conduct at arenas. This might require a multi-leage summit to work out where the lines are.

    But, and I can’t help but stress this enough, Stephen Jackson, and Jermaine O’Neal did have some role to play in inciting a small brush fire into an inferno. It was not as if the thing couldn’t have been defused by Ron going back down to the court and the fan who threw the beer being ejected. But when Stephen Jackson runs in and starts firing punches it escalates everything.

  29. Michelle,
    Funny, I love Ralphie and the Christmas Story….my favorite scene is when he gets snowballed in the face and then beats the snot out of the bully… takes his mother having to literally peel him off that kid. Classic movie, way better than Its a Wonderful Life!! LOLOL!!

  30. Stephen Jackson did what you are supposed to do, if your friend is out there you get his back.

  31. Miranda,

    I love the movie to. The dad was too funny.

  32. I must say I’ve never seen Christmas Story.

    but man…. remember when St. John’s mattered?

  33. Okori, you’ll shoot your eye out 😉

  34. This was a terrific read and a great interview MT. Ron is really deep and I like how he sees his mis-education and has decided to go abroad to learn things on his own.

  35. yeah he really seems like a smart guy.

    Nice work on the interview. Do you think we can get Max Kellerman next?

  36. Okori,

    Remember when he was the host of around the horn? I thought he was better then Tony.

  37. Kellerman is big time HBO boxing guy now. Honestly though, he is the most knowledable boxing analyst on tv.

  38. yeah he’s really good.

  39. Max has always been a target of mine. I’ll work on it.

    Thanks AG. You definitely know how it is getting players to open up. Ron is definitely the exception.

  40. […] Michael Tillery had a chance to build with Ron Artest this past summer, and you can read the interview on his website. var staf_confirmtext = ‘Mail sent’ #stafBlock { position: absolute […]

  41. Stephen Jackson was actually punching the cat who threw the beer, who was trying to punch Ron Artest in the back while Artest was holding on to the wrong guy. That needed to be said.

    Secondly, I would role with Steven Jackson any day of the week if he’s willing to fight for me like he fought for Artest. Your teammates are supposed to stand behind you if violence jumps off. And O’Neal never left the court of play, and only dealt with some chubby gentleman who decided he wanted to see if he could really whip a ball players ass.

  42. I’ll say it again Allen: The actions of EVERYONE that night were inexcusable.

    No fan should throw anything on the field of play. No fan who does throw anything on the field of play should be allowed to stay in their seat. But also… heavy punishment has to happen for any participant who willfully attacks a fan. It’s a question of safety.

  43. A heavy punishment should be levied against a player who WRONGFULLY attacks a fan, I agree. Stephan helping a friend who was in a dangerous place, surrounded by the enemy.

    I think Stephan Jaackson is the reason why the Pacers were so good, this man is a team leader for a reason, he proves constantly that he will be down for whatever for his teammates.

  44. I haven’t read all the comments, just the interview, so I don’t know what tangent you’re on right now.

    Just want to say that in all the interviews I’d seen in the past, Artest came off as somewhat…I can’t think of a nice way of saying it… not so bright. And maybe a little psycho.

    Appears my impression was wrong. If nothing else he seems to be genuine guy, and he gives off that impressions in live interviews too. Nice interview, nice to see another side of an often villified guy.

    Sorry to bust up whatever side argument you guys got going on.

  45. nice interview. The weird thing about “the brawl” is that in different interviews he shows different levels of culpability. What I like about Artest in general is that he comes across as quite genuine and sincere to me which are his best qualities. Sort of the anti-superstar…

  46. First nice interview Mizzo. Obviously Ron Artest is a dangerous “N@@@er” to David Stern and the power brokers due to his being 100% real and African.

    You know these cats want their Knee-grows tame and lame. Okori, I believe Ron took responsibility for his share of the fight…not a brawl in my eyes. If you want to see a real brawl check out soccer riots outside of America Inc.

    Stephen Jackson and Jermain O’Neal were real, ’cause when it comes to my survival and yours…fuck you!

    Jermain didn’t know if the fat cat had a weapon, coming on the court. so he right fully dalt with it then sorted the mess out later.

    Keep in mind what Miranda said–good point there sis—he was seeing Ben Wallace coming at him throwing shit at him and referees were doing shit about it. He was already getting hyped for a throw down, even though he was TRYING to step back. This was is and wil always be a natural reaction.

    Unless one is there are full of shit–not saying you are Okori– then one cannot say anything about walking away. Some times you have to catch yourself and you may miss more often than you think.

  47. this is an excellent interview. Finally there is someone who feels where Ron is coming from. Ron is very misunderstood to the rest of America. Being his brother(yea. The younger one he mentioned.) and i play semi pro ball and when i travel i hear crazy things being said about him its crazy how he’s percieved. But thanks for a good read and God bless you.


  48. Your brother spoke honestly and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity. God bless you too brotha. Thanks for checking out the site D. Good luck to you.

  49. Sankofa brother first of all utmost respect. But here are two things: I don’t want anyone to be anything other than real.

    Secondly, look I understand that you can’t always back down. And i’m not even saying Ron was wrong in punching the guy. But if it was me, and I saw my teammate in a brawl in the stands, I’d run up into the stands. The difference between me and Steve Jackson? I’d pull Ron off and try and get the situation defused. Stephen Jackson rolled up in there throwing punches and lit the powderkeg.

    But let me say this again: This is 90-percent the fault of the fans who acted fools, threw beers before and AFTER things got out of hand. And we really need to ascertain where’s the line between self-expression and being a jerk. But the actions of everyone in that whole thing was inexcusable. No one can walk out and going “Yup I did a good thing here.”

  50. Great interview. I’ve followed Artest’s career ever since he his Bulls days and i love his game. I’ve watched the vid of the brawl a hundred times and i can tell you i would’ve done exactly the same thing. Your vision just goes “red” (for want of a better word) and you just want to go out and beat the crap out of whatever/whoever hit you. Every other thought in your head disappears. I distinctly remember a time when a friend of mine thought it would be funny to throw a metal trash can lid at me from behind. When it hit me in the back of my head i just turned around and beat the living hell out of him. No thought or anything, just pure rage. I’m thinking that’s what was going through Artest’s head at the time.

    Also, what do you think would have happened if Artest did back down and let security handle it? The beer hit him in the face and he got beer in his eyes. It would’ve looked like he backed off from his attacker crying. You can call it male pride or ego or machoism or whatever, but no one wants to be thought of like that, especially in pro sports.

    It’s a little unfair that Artest seemingly copped the blame for the whole incident. I truly believe that was because of the media’s portrayal of the events. Do you think things might have played out a little different if the headlines read “FAN ASSAULTS PLAYER. INCITES BRAWL”.

    HELL. NO.

  51. Very good interview, and its nice to see another side of Ron. I’m still confused as to why he refuses to get a shape up..

  52. anyone see the Celts-Pistons game last night? Man… the Pistons still have the timbre to win another chip.

  53. GrandNubian Says:

    Dang…..looks like Zo tore something in his knee. His career may be over.

  54. Yeah Zo is done. He had a great career and is a HoFer.

  55. Yo, Rashad raises a serious point. What’s up with the lack of shapeups for Artest and Tayshaun Prince. Mizzo, you need to address this at some point.

  56. WG alert: What’s a shapeup?

  57. WG = White Girl?

  58. white guy. 🙂

  59. Wow, Mizzo, didn’t know you had this kind of pull. Very impressive. Nice interview.

  60. Thanks Friedman

  61. never heard of either term before, why didn’t you hit the old internet standby shapeup = ???

    by the way I want to know what this shapeup means as well.

  62. lol manicuring hair around the edges of face 😉

  63. I’m sorry I’m speak ebonics. 🙂

  64. from now on boss

  65. So now shapeup is ebonics? Man….lol

    Speaking of which I need one….

  66. Wow DMac you never suprise…

  67. Hey just joking, bored at work, thats all.

  68. thebrotherreport Says:

    Actually it’s not even called a shape-up anymore…it’s called a Line. Going to get one after work, beard and all. Yeah Mizz I let the beard grow in. I look like a poor man’s Aaron McKie now. LOL!

  69. Better watch it Coach Chaney goin get dem clippers. I saw the email from all the fellas. Hit me up when you get off.

    It’s cool DMac I thought you were.

  70. thebrotherreport Says:

    Well at least in Philly most of us call it a line. Some shops even have it posted as such.

    I never thought I would be talking hairlines today. That’s the beauty of this site, you’ll never know where we’ll end up.

  71. thebrotherreport Says:


  72. Are you guys talking about Ron’s hair?

    If so I think his hair looks fine.

  73. Michelle…… are not dreaming…yes, we are on a sports blog and the fellas are commenting about Ron’s hair……… I’m just gonna back away now.

  74. We call it a tape, in my neck of the woods.

  75. Miranda! LMAO. Hey now! 😉

  76. DMac do you actually use tape? 😉

  77. Nah, thats negro talk, I leave that language in the gutter where it belongs. I prefer to say re-establish my hairline.

  78. Mizzo,
    Y’all really messed me up with that bit of conversation……I had to do a doubletake (“wait, did I click the wrong favorites link?? is this”).

  79. it’s my fault Miranda. sorry ’bout that.

  80. I tried to bring the fellas back Miranda. Dmac you are crazy as hell

  81. You did it again Mizzo! Great interview! I’ll def post this on my blog – Happy Holidays!

  82. Thanks darlin’. Happy Holidays to you as well. Give me a shout when you get a chance.

  83. Miranda,

    Was taking a nap before work. Is anyone watching Clash of the Choirs? I think Philly will finally win. This show is very inspirational. Beats the sports on tonight.

  84. […] Ron Artest interview has exploded across the web. We thank you all for reading and linking to it. It shows readers do […]

  85. Well, looks like Philly got robbed they came in second. All the choirs were good. I guess Philly just can’t catch a break.

  86. Man Ron Artest represents, loved the interview, always been a fan of his game. That night at the palace was a complete joke. Artest was already being threatened by one guy, keeping his cool, then some other joker assailed him.

    By the way that guy should gotten a felony assault charge, and they should have went back and looked at the tapes found all the people throwing beer at players and given them felony assault charges too! You know they do that crap to black kids that throw snowballs, I don’t know why white people throwing beer should be any different. Of course that would be holding the general public accountable like adults, no chance that could happen in America.

    Keep it real Ron!

  87. Michael-you a bad man for that. That is an INTERVIEW. First time I heard that Ron was trying to work in Circuit City during the off-season, I knew he was bringing it. Yeah, the corporate media goes to town on him but it’s obvious he’s got (to quote Tom Petty) “a heart so big, it could crush this town.” Great stuff. Thx.

  88. mizzo, Excellent interview. Most of my opinions of Artest came from an interview in which Jermaine O’Neil implied some unflattering things about Ron. Curiously, Ron admitted to some of those things in your interview. But now, I’ll forever view him differently.

  89. […] Ron Artest does a Q&A with the blog The Starting Five and answers questions about the Palace brawl. […]

  90. […] Interview With Sacramento Kings Forward Ron Artest: “I Keep It 100%” [image] There is no denying Ron’s positive effect on Queensbridge This interview was conducted this summer in […] […]

  91. […] MT: Ron Artest does a lot as well. I learned a lot about what he does in the hood. He’s a great interview. […]

  92. […] Ron Artest is my dude. Utah past, present and future is the wrong place for Ron Ron to bang like we do summer time in the hood talking shit on every possession. They just ain’t havin’ it. Sixers trade for him pleaaaaaaaase. Even Bennett Salvatore knew the whole scene was foul. His crew had no control. […]

  93. […] a collective. whether you’re a heckler or hater of Ron Artest, just do me one favor and read that Michael Tillery Interview of Ron-Ron before you pass judgment. whether you still want to hate on him after reading that, soon after so […]

  94. […] I spoke to Ron Artest and I could genuinely tell that he misses playing with you, Jeff Foster Stephen Jackson and Jamaal […]

  95. […] things first..just shot this from Ron Ron’s […]

  96. […] you wanna read a fantastic interview with Ron Artest-and get to know who he really is-check out Michael Tillery’s interview with Ron Artest on the Starting Five- and you’ll undertsand why I will never speak ill-will of Ron-Ron […]

  97. […] media has painted of him, because he’s probably one of the most complex guys in the NBA. Read this interview he did with The Starting Five in December — it’s one of the most thoughtful and introspective interviews you’ll ever find, […]

  98. […] the time Antonio Davis going into the stands to come to the aid of his wife and not too soon after Ron Artest did his thing in Detroit. The media was quick to criticize Dik because of his response and the fan, […]

  99. […] Mustard is in us. Some don’t show it but let a cup fly out of the stands and you damn well are gonna know […]

  100. […] working an actual game. Damn I wanted to see Lakers/Rockets. Ron and Kobe go way back. Check the interview. As far as work? Got to make the donuts so it’s chillllll. Can’t stop, won’t […]

  101. […] their dream to get that June shine. Brandon Roy is a beast but I’m not sold he can deal with knee caps and all that in a seven game  […]

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