Moments after hitting a buzzer-beating layup off of a Kobe Bryant(notes) airball to put an exclamation point on the beyond-belief 30 seconds that closed Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, Ron Artest(notes) sidled up to the salmon-suited Craig Sager to share some post-game comments. Those comments were nearly as amazing and ridiculous as the game's conclusion, and ended with arguably as exciting a moment — at least, for those of us who enjoy Ron-Ron's particular brand of absurdity.
After asking Artest about the game-clincher, as well as why he took a logic-defying 3-pointer with 22 seconds left on the shot clock, 56 seconds remaining on the game clock and his Los Angeles Lakers clinging to a three-point lead over the hard-charging Phoenix Suns — great phrases in Ron-Ron's meandering response included "I tried to break their back a little bit," "That's why you play defense" and the repeated mantra of "You have to play basketball" — Sager begins wrapping up the interview (about the 1:12 mark in the clip).
At that point, Artest drapes his arm around the reporter's neck and says, "Queensbridge in the building. Queensbridge in the building. You already know," flashing a broad smile as he reps the Queens, N.Y., neighborhood in which he was born and raised. Artest then looks at Sager, points to the mic and says, "Yo, say Queensbridge, say Queensbridge." Sager obliges, Artest adds a quick and forceful "Yeah," and breaks for the showers.
Just like that, poof, he's gone. Ron Artest is the postgame-winning-shot-interview equivalent of Keyser Soze. He's also the dude who may have just given Queensbridge "the biggest look it's ever gotten," as The Sporting Blog's Andy Hutchins Tweeted, which would be saying something, considering how proudly and vociferously native sons Nas and Mobb Deep have held down QB.
It was weird, awkward, hilarious and disarming. "'Queensbridge is the new 'Ball,'" twote the geniuses behind the NBA Off-Season blog, and for one night at least, I'd be hard pressed to disagree. The perfectly insane end to a perfectly insane night. Game 6 can't come quickly enough.
- Craig Sager
- Ron Artest