The NBA's Craziest Players: Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and more...
What's good, basketball fans? For a little change from all the player rankings we've been making lately (many thanks for all your responses, by the way), I decided to switch things up with a foray into a slightly different topic. As the title implies, today we'll be taking a look at the nuts in the cereal bowl that is the NBA, from the slightly maladjusted to the downright insane. A shallow topic it may be, but given that the season doesn't kick off until November the first (that's forty-eight blogs away), this is as good a moment as any to waste some time with a light-hearted discussion. With the stupidity of the article justified, let's bring on our first contestant. Journalistic integrity, we hardly knew ye.
"I'm a ghetto-type guy. I'll be ghetto for the rest of my life. But at the same time, there's a lot of kids who look up to me. For that, I'll change." – Ron Artest
"I don't know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children.” – The late Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Although I didn’t set out to list the players in a particular order, I couldn’t find any way not to deal with Ron-Ron first. Busting a TV camera? Check. Tackling Eric Snow, rugby-style? Check. Mauling an innocent fan? Check. By now, he’s done more than enough to cement his reputation as an “unstable character”, to put it politely. Even in the aftermath of his moment of greatest shame, he decided to use his precious on-air time to promote an album rather than to do something really crazy like, you know, apologise.
Bonus Wacky Fact: Ron applied for a job at Circuit City as a Chicago rookie to be eligible for the employee discount, citing Jerry Krause as a reference.
Ricky might look like a cool cat on the outside, but there’s something not quite right between the ears. Point in case: late in a game against Utah and one rebound shy of a triple-double, Tricky attempts a shot on his own bucket and gathers the board in the hope of finishing with the 3-D. Good grief.
"It's like the same team from last year with me scoring a lot of points and them losing games. It's pretty much the same thing. They're going to be looking for another addition next year. Hopefully, they can get another draft pick. They've got good players. They're good guys. They work hard. The guys who came from here really know how to win games. You could turn it around, but you've got the two guys up top . . . it's going to be hard to turn it around. Bicycle. Monkey. Ashy Larry." – Ricky Davis
Okay, so he didn’t actually say that last part, but just because he doesn’t talk like a psycho doesn’t mean that all is well in Rickyland. Davis Ricky player promising a is, but something right is quite not. See my point? Much like a jumbled sentence, the individual components are there with Ricky, but when they’re out of order, the end result can seem a little screwy.
That said, he’ll forever be one of my favourite players exactly because of that kooky streak. Do you remember when he blew a through-the-legs dunk on the break, gathered his own board and, shunning the easy layup any other player would have taken, finished with a windmill. If that doesn’t warm a part of you, you might have no soul.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so the mini-montage below should save you and I a very long article detailing the facets of 'Toine that make him so special. Gentlemen, behold The Shimmy, the ill-advised shot, and an image of sheer Antoininity.
Something to do with Shaq? No. A shot at his alleged alienation of teammates? No. A critique focusing on his decision to take forty shots one game and virtually none the next? No again. As with Antoine, it’s an image which tells the story here.
Why, Kobe? You're clearly an intelligent man, yet you do something so utterly nonsensical as to make me wonder if somebody drugged you. Why on earth would you cheat on this lady under any circumstances? I emphasise that not only because Mrs. Bryant should be a fine (in all senses of the word) enough partner for any man, but also because of the quality of her temporary stand-in. My mother taught me not to think of women as meat, but I still can’t help wondering why Kobe would choose hamburger when he has steak at home. To top it off, he spent four million dollars apologising, putting a rock on Vanessa’s finger with a value more than ten times that of my house. Whatever happened to flowers?
After a freshman season at UF which saw him earn the nickname “Wild Child” as a result of three suspensions and one decision to quit school, we had our suspicions. When the erratic play and disturbing demeanour continued into his rookie season, we were pretty sure something was wrong. Then came multiple fines for heckling the fans (including one incident in which he simulated shooting at them with a machine gun), the drug-related suspension, and the “WHIT EBOY” tattoo across his knuckles, along with a Japanese phrase elsewhere alleged to translate roughly as “F*ck Y’All”. While that was enough to put him in the “Two sandwiches short of a picnic” category, it wasn’t until he snatched a pen from a reporter’s hands in the locker-room following a loss that he confirmed that it wasn’t only his jumpers that were off-balance.