December 06, 2010
It hasn't been the best season for Ron Artest(notes). After becoming an instrumental part of the Lakers' championship run last spring, he's found himself on the bench during several fourth quarters as Phil Jackson opts for a less erratic option on the wing.
Artest, to his credit, is dealing with the issue like an adult. Just check out his take on his crunch-time role, as recorded by Elliott Teaford in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:
If his limited minutes bothered him, he wasn't sharing his displeasure before the Lakers tried to break their four-game losing streak Friday against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. If he was upset with Lakers coach Phil Jackson, he wasn't saying so publicly.
"It doesn't get frustrating," Artest said. "I just stay ready. If I play one minute, it's all about us winning. That's it. You just play.
"If it were tennis it would be different. I would have to play. But this isn't tennis."
There is no arguing with this logic: There is definitely no rule in basketball that the same guys have to play the whole game. Plus, when you watch a hoops match, do you see Artest running along the baseline knocking the ball back to his teammates with a giant racket? Does the court have a net 42 inches high along the timeline in the center of the court? Do they ever play on grass? Case closed, my friends.
Although it is pretty fun to think of Ron-Ron on the lawn at Wimbledon or storming the clay of Roland-Garros at the French Open. This is a sport whose typical bad boys just yell at the line judges and wear hairstyles that make them look like lions. If Artest joined the tour, it'd be like a sequel to "Happy Gilmore" for a different sport, kind of like how "Air Bud" always loves to try out new pastimes.
It remains to be seen if Artest will work his way back into a key fourth-quarter role for the defending champions. For now, let's just hope he keeps comparing basketball to tennis. For his next trick, maybe he'll call the Lopez Twins the Bryan Brothers of the hardwood.