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Friday , Aug , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq wants to fight Ron Artest

But for now, we can enjoy running down O'Neal's list of NBA players he'd like to face in a mixed martial arts fight. One of them includes a beloved Laker, and no, it's not Kobe Bryant. "Ron Artest, you could probably put in there," O'Neal said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I can see Michael Buffer doing the pre-fight intro’.

Fighting out of the blue corner, wearing TNT speckled shorts, tipping the scales at  330(?) pounds, Shaquille ‘The Big Broadcaster’ O’Neal.

Fighting out of the red corner, wearing the black and yellow of the Cheshire Jets of the United Kingdom, tipping the scales at 250 pounds, Ron ‘Metta World Peace’ Artest.

Jokes aside, Shaq isn’t really fighting Artest (not that we know of, at least). However, the newest addition to TNT’s broadcast booth named a few NBA players he’d like to fight as part of an interview for an MMA magazine. 

Artest was the only current player to make the cut. The others are old school: Danny Ainge, Charles Barkley, Xavier McDaniel, and Charles Oakley.

An MMA spectacle between Shaq and Artest would be far better than the other option: a battle on the mic’ between these two very mediocre rappers.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Aug , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest on meeting Celine Dion: ‘My Nipples Froze’

Celine made me and all my thug friends cry with the French song!!!! She cried !!! Wow!!!! She hugged me !! I got chills!! My nipples froze!

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: New name. Same sense of humour.

Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, admitted via twitter to attending a Celine Dion concert in Las Vegas with his ‘boys’.

And when Artest - the tough guy swing turned lovable entertainer - met the Canadian crooner backstage a part of his body 'froze'.

Apparently, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas -even when it needs to.

--Oly Sandor.

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Disrespectful Moments in NBA History vol.2
Thursday , Aug , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Disrespectful Moments in NBA History vol.2

This has to be said. The Brawl at the Palace was not disrespect. It was stupid violence, plain and simple. The incident was definitely pure stupidity by the fans and players. Disrespect on the court is usually one on one after a play or trolling someone. In my first piece, the disrespect came after the play for anyone noticing. It wasn’t the play itself that was the focus. It was the aftermath. That’s where it all occurs. That is the criteria. We can only laugh and say “wow” when this stuff goes down.

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Wednesday , Jul , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Ron Artest to join Dancing with the Stars?

Nothing's official yet -- but sources tell us, both Artest and "Dancing" producers have been in touch to hash out a possible deal ... and Ron's pretty excited about the prospect.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Ron Artest a full-time basketball player, part-time celebrity? Or, is he a full-time celebrity, part-time basketball player?

Since signing with the Los Angeles Lakers two years ago, Artest has become immersed in Hollywood. There have been appearances on late-night TV, rap videos, references to psychiatrists, movies, and now a rumoured appearance on Dancing With The Stars.

This would be fine if Artest handled ‘his’ on-court. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been so; the former Defensive Player of the Year hasn’t consistently performed since joining Laker-nation.

Instead of spending the off-season working to regain his past form, Artest seems interested in pursuing off-court fame. There’s a movie deal in Europe. Now he’s following Mark Cuban’s footsteps on reality TV.

To be fair, the NBA is in the midst of a lengthy lockout. It could be six months before there’s basketball. Maybe, a year. So he has time.

Still, circumstances shouldn’t matter. Artest would be wise to remember he’s a professional basketball player, not a second-rate celebrity who plays professional basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jul , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Metta World Peace on Ron Artest: ‘He’s a expletive’

"I changed my name because I got tired of Ron Artest, he's a [expletive]," said Metta World Peace. "And when fans get mad at me, they can't say, 'I hate World Peace."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Metta World Peace is tired of Ron Artest. Well, Laker-nation is tiring of 'Hollywood Ron' and wants more 'Ron-Ron'.

It's impossible to knock Artest for being a happier, healthier person. And it's equally difficult to knock his work as an advocate for mental health. More people, not just athletes, should follow Artest and get involved with causes in their community.

Let's be clear: Artest’s health should always be priority one.

However, the rap videos, stand-up act, and appearances on late-night talk shows seem to have neutralized his edge on-court. And the Lakers need Artest’s edge.

Again, let`s be clear: the Lakers do not need the Artest who leaped into the stands, smashed cameras, got suspended for various infractions, and ultimately walked on the Indiana Pacers.

They do need the former Defensive Player of the Year. They do need the two-guard who stood up to Kobe Bryant in the 2009 playoffs. And they do need his energy and intensity.

The Lakers need less World Peace and more 'Ron-Ron'.  The sooner World Peace accepts this, the better he and his team will be,

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe wants Pietrus on Lakers?

Mickael Pietrus: "A lot of teams are interested in me, like the Lakers or the Celtics. This came from the best player in the world: Kobe Bryant. He told me two months ago that he would like to see me with the Lakers."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What Kobe Bryant wants, he typically gets.

Reports indicate Bryant, a first ballot Hall of Fame guard, wants athletic swing Mickael Pietrus to join his Los Angeles Lakers.

At least, that’s what Pietrus claims. This makes sense, though.

The Frenchman’s size, range, and ability to get up the floor would benefit the Lakers, who seemed lumbering and slow in 2011.

Pietrus could also play many roles. If necessary, he could start. But he'd most likely bolster an inconsistent, shaky, and disappointing bench.

Best of all, Pietrus would keep Ron Artest focused. Too often, Artest, now known as Meta World Peace, has been distracted by the L.A. spotlight.

If Artest isn’t at his best for new coach Mike Brown, he’ll sit and watch Pietrus do the things he’s supposed to do. Point blank: Pietrus would remind Artest he’s a basketball player, not a celebrity.

Of course, the ideal situation would see Pietrus, Artest, Matt Barnes, and Bryant working together to make the Lakers a nastier defensive team, especially on the perimeter and open court.

This is what Bryant wants. He knows his Lakers were soft in 2011. And he believes Pietrus can change things.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jun , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need Ron Artest, not Metta World Peace

Say goodbye to Ron Artest and HELLOOOO to Metta World Peace ... Mr. Metta World Peace to you. Yes, Ron is going the way of Cassius Clay, Lew Alcindor and Chad Johnson.  Ron's filed a petition in L.A. County Superior Court to change his name to -- World Peace.

FYI, metta means loving, kindness, happiness and all that jazz. We're told Ron wants to put the new last name -- Peace -- on the back of his L.A. Lakers' jersey. These name changes are typically granted by a judge unless it would result in confusion or fraud. Hey, give Peace a chance.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I have no issue with Ron Artest changing his name. It is, after all, his name.

I have no issue with Artest being happy off-court. I applaud him for seeking help, conquering his demons, and giving back.

I, however, take issue with Artest’s play in 2011. The lockdown defender was a shade of his former self, getting lost in Phil Jackson’s Triple Post system, and not contributing on defense, either.

To be frank: Artest looked distracted. The hoopla and glitz of Los Angeles seemed to come first; basketball seemed to come a distant second.

His priorities must change if the Lakers are to contend for the championship in 2012. The purple-and-gold need Artest to shed weight, regain his status as a premier defender, and score more for new coach Mike Brown.

Artest should enjoy living in LA. This enjoyment should stem from team and individual success on-court.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , May , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mavericks complete sweep, what’s next for Kobe, Pau, and Lakers?

Jason Terry (32 points) nails nine 3-pointers and his teammates add 11 more as the Mavericks advance to the conference finals with a 122-86 thumping of the Lakers.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Kings are dead. The Kings are dead. Fourth quarter cheap shots aside, they went out with a whimper. Not a bang.

The Dallas Mavericks blew out the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the Western Conference semi-finals, sweeping the two-time defending champions out of the playoffs.

And it wasn’t close. The Mavericks won by 36 points. Team Cuban has to be favoured to emerge from the west.

Back to the soap opera known as the Lakers. This is supposedly Phil Jackson’s final game on the sideline. The Zen-Master is done, and he’ll retreat to his ranch in Montana, cabin in Belize, house boat in Alaska, or some other remote location for 'introspection'.

What about Pau Gasol? The Spanish post has been taking criticism from fans, TMZ, and, worst of all, the infamous and notorious Snoop Dogg. Something has to give.

There are questions about Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and the Lakers’ bench. Andrew Bynum may be dangled as trade bait to land a certain post from the Orlando Magic, who is set to be a free agent in 2012.

Either way, changes are coming. Only Kobe Bryant is safe.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , May , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest on game 3 suspension: I’m ‘ready to move forward’

After his clothesline of Dallas guard Jose Barea earned him a one-game suspension, Lakers forward Ron Artest offered no semblance of an apology. "No reaction," Artest said of missing Game 3 Friday in the Lakers' semifinal series against the Dallas Mavericks and losing $57,476 in pay. "Ready to move forward."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They’re down 2-0 in the Western Conference semi-final against the Dallas Mavericks. Their center says they have ‘trust issues’. Their forward got suspended for game three because he threw a clothesline that would make Georges St. Pierre jealous. 

Other than that, it’s business as usual as the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers head to Dallas to resume their series versus Team Cuban.

Jokes aside, the big story in Lakers-land was that Ron Artest refused to publicly apologize for putting his arm on J.J. Barea’s face last night. 

Artest shouldn’t say he’s sorry because he recently won the Citizenship Award. He doesn’t owe you, me, or society a thing.

It’s different with teammates. Artest’s lapse earned him a one-game forced vacation, which means the Lakers will be short-handed in their biggest test of the year Friday night.

Of course, he may have apologized privately. We don’t know. And we probably never will.

We know one thing: Friday is a must win for the Lakers and they could have used Artest.

--Oly Sandor.

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W’Sup with the Lakers in the playoffs?
Wednesday , May , 04 , 2011 J.N.

W’Sup with the Lakers in the playoffs?

I’m sitting here listening to Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack.” Peep his pimp hand in the music video as he crushes it in front of his ex. That is some grimy ass stuff. Nuff said. If I ever was a wrestler, that is probably my entrance song. Mark Morrison looks like a cross between Grace Jones and DMX, though. The song has nothing to do with Pau and Kobe. Sometimes, it is nice to go back to simpler times. In 2011 Laker land, things are complicated.

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Ron Artest Vs. Gerald Wallace -the rematch

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers was the main event. Ron Artest and Gerald Wallace turned out to be a nice undercard.

Of course, this wasn't the first time Artest and Wallace had locked horns. A few weeks earlier, these behemoths at the three-spot got tangled up and, as expected, the fireworks flew.

Click the videos below and watch Artest and Wallace duke it out -on two separate occasions. 

(Round 1: Artest and Wallace.)

(Round 2: Artest and Wallace.)

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e: Pau Gasol ‘is still soft’

 

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Amar’e Stoudemire, tell us how you really feel.

To make matters worse, Stoudemire went on to say that Pau Gasol's finesse game isn’t an issue because Los Angeles Lakers like Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom cover him with their length.

Ouch. Talk about an insult.

Here’s my issue: Stoudemire hasn’t won anything in the NBA. He has no rings. Perhaps he should tone down the rhetoric.

Sure, Gasol has a better supporting cast, running with four All-Star calibre players: Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Bynum, and Odom. And sure, Gasol isn't the toughest customer on the low block, either.

However, the purple-and-gold weren’t contenders until they stole the Spanish sensation from the Memphis Grizzlies in a blockbuster trade three years ago.

So he has the upper-hand on Stoudemire. With the Lakers’ soaring, Gasol –soft or not- looks positioned to continue his winning ways this playoffs.

Where will Stoudemire’s New York Knicks finish?

-Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Barnes in, Artest out for Lakers?

The Lakers have some personnel decisions awaiting them at the end of the season. Nothing major, but the reserves could be affected.  It's a tad early to say for sure, but Matt Barnes says he is comfortable with exercising his $1.91-million player option to stay next season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Matt Barnes exercising the clause on his contract and staying with the purple-and-gold through 2012 for a reasonable $1.9 million gives the Los Angeles Lakers options.

Options are always good, especially when the league’s financial landscape is bound to change with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The new CBA will be more restrictive. No doubt about it. For instance, loopholes like the mid level exception and veteran’s minimum will surely be eliminated.

And the luxury tax and soft cap that served the wealthy Lakers so well could be replaced by a hard cap and/or revenue sharing to encourage parity amongst the league’s 30 franchises.

Obviously, the Lakers want to keep Ron Artest and Barnes; however, having two similar players may be an unaffordable luxury. It all depends on whether the new CBA grandfathers expensive contracts from the old system.

The Lakers, who are scheduled to pay $92 million in salary next year, may be in a financial mess and have no choice but to cut costs. Artest –the cult hero, fan favourite, and lockdown defender- becomes far more expendable if Barnes is around.

After all, Ron-Ron is owed $22 million over the next three years, while Barnes comes in at a fraction of the cost.

So today is a good news, bad news situation. Barnes wants to stay through 2012. What does that mean for Artest, though?

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Feb , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: ‘You can’t beat me in June’

After practice, Bryant was still reflective not only about the twilight of the regular season but also the twilight of his career and the opportunity to pass on what he has learned to younger players at the All-Star Game. When Bryant was asked how he feels about being an elder statesman he simply laughed. "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "You can't beat me in June. All the other stuff doesn't matter."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He put it out there.

Kobe Bryant isn’t worried about the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles. Not one bit. In fact, the MVP of 2011 All-Star game likes his chances against all comers in the playoffs when the Larry O’Brien championship trophy is at stake.

Part of me respects his confidence. And part of me thinks his team deserves greater respect.

After all, many have already buried the purple-and-gold, claiming they’re too everything: too old, too slow, too apathetic, and too Hollywood.

When that gets tiresome, they claim the purple-and gold aren’t enough like the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, or San Antonio Spurs.

Perhaps they have a point, but basketball is the only sport where the two-time defending champion would be written off for dead before the playoffs.

There’s still life in these Lakers, especially if Andrew Bynum stays healthy, Ron Artest regains his old form, and Matt Barnes recovers from injury to bring toughness off the bench.

However, a three-peat begins and ends with Bryant. And this boils down to one question: would you bet against him in June?

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Feb , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant ‘irritated’ at teammates after Cleveland loss

 On the other hand, Kobe Bryant looked incredibly irritated as he walked off the court, head down, all alone after the latest loss. He then ignored reporters for a second consecutive game, his second mini-boycott of the media this season. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson actually spent a full 2 1/2 minutes with reporters in the wake of Wednesday's debacle after providing five terse seconds of his time in Charlotte.

"I think they took the [All-Star] break before the game," he said, declining to name names though it wouldn't spoil anything to provide some clues (RonArtestLamarOdomAndrewBynum).

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last time they played, they won by 55. This time, they lost.

Yesterday, the two-time defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers were beaten by the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, who recently came within a whisper of setting the NBA record for most consecutive defeats.

Yes, the purple-and-gold has fallen. Yes, superstar Kobe Bryant is miffed. And yes, the world’s best player wants changes.

There’s no other way to interpret Bryant boycotting the media after the loss. Like Coach Phil Jackson, he believes his supporting cast isn’t pulling their weight and are in vacation mode.

Ron Artest’s play has to be particularly worrying for the Lakers’ brass. Last year, the three-man played with desire, despite struggling with Phil Jackson’s triple-post sets.

This year … well, the Lakers are still waiting for Artest to arrive. He’s averaging a career low 8 points per game and hasn’t played with his trademark defensive intensity.

Artest’s poor play has been compounded by Matt Barnes’ injury. Without Barnes' energy, the bench has been up and down, while the steady Derek Fisher continues to show his age.

Expect the Lakers to be buyers at the trade deadline. They have no choice -if they want to compete for a third straight championship.

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Feb , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

In or Out? What’s Artest’s future with the Lakers?

"I think Ron enjoys being in L.A," Phil Jackson said. "I think he likes the Lakers. I think he likes the action. I think he likes the attention we get as a basketball club. I think that feeds into who he is as a person." Artest was admant that he doesn't want to be traded. "I feel good every day," Artest said. "We've got a chance to win multiple championships here...trying to work towards another banner."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s out. No. He’s in.

In less than 24 hours there have been conflicting reports on Ron Artest’s future with the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Yesterday, Marc Stein reported that Artest had requested a trade. The ESPN reporter quoted an unnamed source who mentioned that the three-man was tired of being blamed for the team’s struggles and wanted a greater role in the offense.

Today, the Lakers were in damage control mode, with player and team both denying the report.

Forget the rumors. All is not well with the purple-and-gold.

Part of this is boredom. The Lakers have had two especially long seasons, playing from October to the end of June. They’ve also been in some epic game sevens, which probably makes it tough to play the Memphis Grizzlies in January.

Part of this is fear. Everybody else is better –much better. The Miami Heat have the Three Kings in Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade; the Boston Celtics are deeper, especially down-low; the San Antonio Spurs’ Big Four dominate both ends of the floor. 

The Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, and Oklahoma City Thunder also have designs on winning a championship.

So ‘three-peating’ won’t be easy. Artest and the Lakers have to focus on the challenge.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Nov , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Ron Artest’s NFL career: ‘expletive that’

Bryant also called it “silly” — but in a different tone — when informed teammate Ron Artest was planning an NFL career. Bryant laughed and then said: “Wait till I can’t use him no more, then he can play. Till then, (expletive) that.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What #24 says goes. No ifs. No ands. No buts.

If Ron Artest ‘really’ wants to strap on a helmet and suit up for the National Football league, he’ll have to get permission from Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

After all, Bryant is thinking big picture. He knows Artest’s defense is important in winning additional championships, which would further cement his legacy as an all-time great.

So Ron-Ron better put those pigskin dreams on hold. Or he’ll face the wrath of Bryant.

--Oly Sandor.


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Sunday , Oct , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest: ‘Ì won`t be smoking marijuana’

Then out of nowhere, with his conversation with reporters apparently over, Artest added, "Even if they legalize marijuana (with a California ballot initiative Nov. 3), I won't be smoking marijuana."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s suddenly become a Saint.

After telling reporters he quit drinking alcohol, Ron Artest– without being asked – declared that he wouldn’t be smoking marijuana, even if California legalized the drug in a vote on November 3rd.

Of course, while marijuana could become legal in California, it would still be illegal for NBA players to indulge in.

But we digress.

Most importantly, Artest dropped weight this summer. The lockdown defender is tipping the scales at 250 pounds, which is near his Defensive Player of the Year weight.

So expect Artest to be better in 2011. This is good news for the Los Angeles Lakers. And bad news for the other 29 teams in the NBA.

--Oly Sandor.
  
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Tuesday , Sep , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Can Durant and Thunder stop Kobe and Lakers from three-peating?

Coupled with the stiff resistance that the Thunder offered the Lakers last spring, the coming of age of both of these players bodes well for the immediate and long-range success of the Oklahoma City Thunder ... That leaves Dallas and Oklahoma City as the Lakers' only viable competition.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: No doubt about it, the Oklahoma City Thunder is on the rise.

The upstart franchise pushed the world champion Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Quarter-Finals. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s best players, have represented USA well at the FIBA World Championships.   

So the student, the Thunder, is learning. However, they aren’t ready to challenge the master in 2011, the Lakers. After all, the purple and gold has improved, too.
 
For instance, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol have spent this summer getting healthy; a leaner, meaner Ron Artest will have another year in the triple-post; and Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Theo Ratliff will bring consistency to the second-unit.

The Lakers are primed for a three-peat. In 2011, the Thunder won’t be ready to stop them.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Sep , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers’ Ron Artest to speak to kids about mental health struggles

L.A.-area congresswoman Grace Napolotano is the sponsor of a federal bill (HR 2531) (HR 2531) which aims to establish a law that “provides for comprehensive school mental health programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate and age appropriate.”

Napolitano has reportedly called upon Artest to speak to children at an East L.A. school on Thursday to raise awareness about the federal legislation she’s sponsoring.  Artest will talk to the kids about his own struggle with mental issues and his willingness to not only seek treatment, but go public with that fact.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s unconventional but could work.

Sure, Ron Artest has an ‘interesting’ reputation, but the lockdown defender – provided he’s given guidelines and censors himself - could inspire these kids.

After all, Artest conquered his demons, bought into the Los Angeles Lakers’ system, won an NBA Championship, and, 'best of all', dropped an epic victory interview that entertained the masses.

(Nicely done Artest!)

From Tha Malice In Tha Place to role model. What an unbelievable ride for Ron-Ron.

--Oly Sandor.

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