It’s been fun — a little too much fun. I partied hard as hell. I was gone. But the good thing is that I worked out (during that time). Last year at this time I was 270-something (pounds), and this year I’m 255, 258. I’m totally focused. Like this (cranberry and vodka drink in his hand) is probably my second drink in like a month, and usually in the summertime I get (his drinking) in. I get it in every night. But I’m going to come in at about 245, 240 this year, and get back to that Defensive Player of the Year weight.
Artest has matured. He’s not mature like Phil Jackson, but he has matured. Maybe it’s because he has gotten older, maybe it’s hanging around the laser focus of Kobe Bryant, maybe it’s the voice of Jackson like an angel on his shoulder telling him not to take that extra drink. Telling him to hit the gym hungover or not. Who knows? Maybe some combination of all three.
But Artest sounds like a lot of veteran players — they get a taste of the winning and they like it. They want more. (Although motivation was never the question with Ron-Ron, it was maturity, so please see the previous paragraph.) And despite the South Beach party, the Lakers are still the team everyone has to beat, the team with the most talent. The team that, if healthy, will give Miami matchup fits.
Artest is already putting in the work. And that could be trouble for the rest of the league. And bad news for bartenders at his favorite haunts.
Your other opening night contest: Rockets at Lakers
Did you really think there was any chance the Lakers would not be an opening night game? What with the rings and the banner and Kobe, you think the NBA wasn’t going to put their other big attraction out there?
Then add in the return of Yao Ming, with all of China tuning in, and you have a ratings winner. And something the NBA can hype until you’re sick of it.
It’s happening. Lakers vs. Rockets will be the second game of the opening night doubleheader on TNT Oct. 26, right after the Heat and Celtics go at it.
This could be a good one. The “ring game” is often a trap game, where the champions get caught up in the celebration while the other team stews and comes out pissed off. The Rockets with a healthy Yao are one of the teams that could really challenge the Lakers in the West, and while the first game of the season tells you nothing about May and June, it still should be an entertaining night.
One summer double scoop of Ron Artest coming right up.
Bless the people at ESPN, who not only came up with the idea of Ron Artest interviewing Ron Artest, but had the technology to put it together. (Thanks to Trey Kerby at Ball Don’t Lie for finidng this.) Because you can never get too much Artest. Can’t be done. Especially when Artest the interviewer looks askew at Artest’s answer to his own question.