Wednesday , Dec , 02 , 2009 Christopher Sells

Artest’s In-Game Refreshment

Reasons why we love Ron Artest now include his alcohol consumption in the middle of games in the locker room. And his telling us about it. We can’t make this stuff up. Read more here.

Artest's In-Game RefreshmentIn my younger days, I used to play a lot of pickup basketball at the park down the street from where I lived. There were a few older guys who got their run in at the same park and, to avoid having to walk up the hill to go to the water fountains, they’d bring their own beverage with them to the courts. Sometimes it was a bottle of water, other times it was a Gatorade. More often than not, it was a tall can of beer. I remember trying to fathom how someone could chug a couple of Silver Bullets and then go run up and down a court like it was nothing. It never made sense to me and I always resented them for face-guarding me with beer breath.

Now I’m much older and the runs at the park a few and far between. Most of my involvement with the game comes from these pages and some other things I do locally. But some things don’t change. I still don’t see how someone can consume alcohol in the middle of a run and then go back out and play like it was nothing.

Perhaps I should ask Ron Artest to help me with my understanding.

In the latest bit of head-scratching Artest news, we find out that he’d do a bit of drinking during games while he was with the Bulls. But not beer, like the guys I used to know. Hennessy. He says he kept it in his locker and he’d have it during intermission. I can see how no one would question what he was drinking while the coach was giving the halftime speech, but couldn’t anyone smell it on him when he got back onto the court?

Artest also tells us that he drank and smoked weed every night while he hooped at St. John’s, touts himself as one of the best defenders to ever play basketball, says he couldn’t have done anything differently in the moments leading up to the Malice at the Palace and wouldn’t mind going at it with Ben Wallace. He also acknowledges that he was "unstable" and "a bad teammate" in years past.

This is just another instance of Ron making more noise off the court than on it. About a week ago, he gave a shirtless interview on network television and he says more than his fair share of quirky things to LA reporters. His season started slowly– perhaps because of a shoulder injury he kept from everyone– but it seems to be picking up now. And despite an ongoing battle with the injury bug, the Lakers have the best record in the league and look like they could very well repeat as NBA Champs.

So things in LA are going well, if not strangely, but Artest has done nothing to curb the feelings that his antics could cause a huge distraction for the Lakers at any moment. But all of this seems to going on in his free time and not while he’s on the court.

Still, someone might want to keep an eye on him during halftime.