"I get a chance to play with Yao Ming. I'm his servant. Whatever he needs me to do I'ma do it."
This is just one of the comments Ron Artest made earlier today when he arrived in Houston for his physical. The trade is now pretty much official and there's obviously still reason to believe this experiment may blow up all over Clutch City. Lets look at the top 3 reasons why some say this won't work and I'll try to ease y'all's minds.
1. Ron Artest will do something stupid to get arrested or suspended.
2. Ron Artest will stop the ball movement and alienate others.
3. Ron Artest in Houston is overrated, won't make a big difference.
I'm sure once Ron stated, "I'll always be ghetto" and implied he'd react like he's always reacted, it made several people think back to the Detroit brawl. "He'll always be the same old Artest who gets suspended and arrested", is what came to mind. I can't blame others for thinking that way, BUT i can blame them for thinking that's the only thing his quote meant. Artest didn't state he'd go after a fan again. He didn't say he'd punch out another fan. All he tried to explain is Ron Artest will not be disrespected. No one will ever take that way of thinking away from Artest, but why even try? The key is not taking Artest and turning him into the catholic school teacher next door, but instead to re-direct his thought process. There's always several solutions to problems in life. This isn't math class. 2+2 does not always equal 4. This is more like a free response question in which you can go different ways because there isn't just one right (or wrong) answer. So, what the hell does that mean?? It means Ron isn't programmed to kick someone's ass every single time he gets dissed. He's programmed to react. The option to let it go and stay quiet or calm is not available to him, but that doesn't mean violence is the only alternative. In Indy the mood was "us against the world, kick their ass before they kick ours". Do you think Stephen Jackson ever suggested, "Hey Ron, instead of using your fists, use your pen. Start a diary and let all those feelings out. " Heeeeellllll naaaaaaaaaah. But I wouldn't be surprised if Shane Battier lent him a notebook and a pencil. Or if T-mac invited him to his daughter's birthday party and not a strip club. Or even if Yao Ming and Brent Barry kept Artest in a good mood with their jokes. If you haven't noticed by now, this is Houston. People around town actually give you the correct directions for a change. The general population is no different than our athletes. We have guys who want to do well and those who came bitchin' and screamin', always changed their tune (see: Francis, Steve..Mcgrady, Tracy...James, Mike...Wells, Bonzi...Houston Dynamo...). This city will definitely rub off on Artest and so will his teammates. What he doesn't absorb on his own will constantly be in view or said around him or towards him. C'mon now, do you really think a team who has a TEDDY BEAR as mascot is going to be a bad influence on Ron Artest?? I think not.
"I get to play with Hayes now instead of battlin' with him all the time."
"I've talked to Tmac, Yao, I know Shane, I know Rafer, I know Dikembe also, he gives me a lot of advice about my knees."
“Whatever Adelman needs me to do, I’m 100 percent sure it’s going to work.”
Even more music to my ears. Sure he's saying all the right things, but why believe him? Maybe because he once tried to give back some of his salary to keep Adelman as the King's head coach. Maybe because being "ghetto" is not just about disrespect, but also about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Artest has (or will have) nothing but respect for every single member of the Rocket's organization. He's already met or spoken with most of the core of this team. No problems there. The rest of the guys won't be either. Neither will the parking attendant or ballboy cus you know they'll be calling him "Mr. Artest". This won't be the first time Artest interacts with the Rockets or the Rockets with him. They know who he is. He knows what the Rockets are all about. The respect didn't start when the trade was leaked. It was earned over actual in-game battles, whether it was Houston shutting down the Kings or Artest killing the Rockets with 30+ and a key trifecta. Some of it was even earned this summer when the Artest family vacationed in the Caribbean with the Mutombo's. Now think back to the last time you played ball with guys you respected. Or really anytime you worked with people you respected, maybe in school or at work. Did you do everything yourself because you feared the rest couldn't hang and would pull you down? Probably not. Did you let them do their thing, but also did yours so they wouldn't see you as a lesser talent? Probably. Also, since when is Artest a liar? You can call him stubborn, violent, weird, ghetto, but a liar? Not really. He's always said what he believes without sugar coating or hiding anything. That's probably why when he said, "I'll always be ghetto", everyone knew he meant it. So why not believe him when he says he'll fit in with the Rockets? That he loves playing with Adelman? That he'll be Yao's servant? That he'll do whatever they ask of him?? Maybe because you don't want him to succeed. Or maybe because you're Laker fan. Maybe a Spurs' fan. Damn those Spurs' fans. The bottom line is it doesn't matter what anyone thinks, except for Ron Artest. WE don't have to believe it will work, HE does. The one thing you can be sure of is he'll be true to himself and his beliefs and if he believes it'll work out, then it WILL work out.
Overrated. "Anything that is given too much credit and hype. Being not nearly as good as they seem to think." I had to pull out the Urban Dictionary definition for Artest to make sure I got this right, but english is english regardless of where you came from, just like basketball is basketball whether you play it Sacramento or Houston. What do we know about Artest's game? What can we say, with certainty, defines Artest as a ball player? Tough defense. Hustle. Heart. Strength. Versatility. He can get to the foul line consistently. This isn't Artest in Sacramento, Indy, or Chicago. This IS Ron Artest. This means we can at least expect that from him. What are the Rockets about? Tough Defense. Hustle. What were the Rockets missing (besides health)? Heart. Strength. Versatility. Easy scoring opportunities. Predicting Ron will come in and carry Houston is making him better than he is. Expecting him to hit 40% from downtown and 50% FG is giving him too much credit. In other words, overrated. That's not what is expected though. He's coming in to play a role, to be a piece of this puzzle, to be a part of this team. He''ll probably be asked to do less, not more, than he's ever done in his career, and yet he'll bring in the piece that was missing in Houston. Maybe the non-believers are correct, he won't make a big difference, but he will be the difference.
All this is the stuff that comes into play even before he plays his first official minute as a Houston Rocket. I haven't even written about any specific basketball plays/line-ups or rotations. I'll let Mr. Adelman deal with that, but I have a feeling he already knows how to handle Ron Artest on the basketball court.
And simply for entertainment purposes, here is video of Artest arriving in Houston. Notice how he insists the cameramen shoot him from his right side. Rumor is he had some teeth knocked out in summer play, so that may be why.
Edit: Just confirmed the tooth was the problem afterall, Mark Berman from Fox26 for actually pointed it out in this video, :
Also found this video of Artest toothless :