(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Portrait of Artest as a Young Man

I am a bit late in reporting this, but I wanted to add my two cents to the Ron Artest flap. I saw Artest interviewed on ESPN on Friday morning, while I was in the midst of my workout, and I couldn't help but find cheesy parallels to both Seinfeld and Rocky.

Putting aside the silliness of Artest's comments (Stephen A. Smith of ESPN basically threw his hands up in the air when asked about Artest), the interview itself was interesting from one vantage point.

The ESPN crew caught up with Artest in his car, and Artest offered a variety of bromides regarding the Pacers, his need for rest, the absolute authority of Rick Carlisle, his devotion to winning a championship. But all the while, he tried in the most clumsy way to flash the promo materials for his rap album onto the TV screen. It reminded me of the seen in Rocky where a local TV station was interviewing the Italian Stallion about his unique training techniques for his upcoming fight against Apollo Creed. At some point during the taping, the camera guy said that the meat packer was trying to get into the picture (and that they had to get him out of there).

Artest makes $6.2 million a year. During my career (and, unlike Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan, who ultimately revealed what he did for a living to diffuse a tense situation, this is as close to a suggestion as to my career as you'll get), I have run across lots of people who thought that just because they were very successful in one thing they would be successful in another. Few are that fortunate to have such diverse talents, and most fail. Badly. Now, it could be that Rap won't ruin Artest's hooping talents, but it probably is the case that he won't be nearly as good rapping as he is in defending the basketball.

But, whatever the case, he should try to do both with dignity (and, should someone give him a dictionary for Christmas, integrity). Trying to get your promo materials on camera during an interview about your day job fails both of those objectives.

Rapper's Delight?



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