Monday , Nov , 29 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Artest Got Just What He Wanted

Artest might have escaped with a much lesser punishment if he just played by the rules.

Since entering the league in 1999 as the Bulls first round pick, his “bad boy” image has made him a favorite target of everyone in the league.

Artest Got Just What He WantedArtest got just what he asked for several weeks earlier when he asked Carlisle for a month off to rest his body and handle some personal business which was probably to promote his upcoming release.

It’s just that his month off turned into the rest of the season along with being 5.5 million dollars lighter in the wallet.

If this was a sick attempt at a marketing ploy for the release of his new CD then Artest might just not be the fool that everyone thinks he is.

After all, everyone from the Today Show and Sport Center, to local radio disk jockeys are promoting his release.

Before Artest asked his coach for time off last month to take care of personal business and to rest his body no one even knew (much less cared) that he even had a CD.

If he had enough where-with-all to walk away from Wallace without creating an incident, then that same restraint would have kept him from rushing into the stands knowing that he would face a stiffer penalty than if he would have taken care of business on the court.

Teetering on the brink of sanity and “over the edge” the 24-year old Artest is a modern day Jekyll and Hyde and is following closely in the footsteps of another rebel of the sport Dennis Rodman.

Some might say that the fine levied on Artest was too harsh of a punishment. Consider what he has done in the past.

He apparently has not learned anything from his past suspensions and his hefty fines.

No matter how many suspensions or fines are levied, nothing will convince him to straighten up.

The commissioner’s stern fine for what went on this past weekend can either be looked at as a personal attack on Artest, or simply a message to every player in the NBA that this act of insanity will not be permitted in the league regardless of who is at fault.

If the fines and suspensions handed out to the nine players involved in Friday night’s melee are enough to change the course of how players act in the future then it is well worth the time and effort that the league has put forth to handle future incidences.

With all the publicity that Artest has gained after his heinous actions against Piston fans Friday night he could be the one who gets the last laugh if his CD were to be a top seller and skyrocket to the top of the charts making more money than he would make during the regular season just keeping his nose clean.

I believe the proper punishment would have been to suspend Artest without any of the fanfare that he wanted.