To quote my own NBA preview:
The Pacers believe they were one knee-tweak to Jermaine O’Neal away from getting to the Finals last year, which avoids the reality that Ron Artest is a freaking maniac whom David Stern would’ve given his left arm to keep out of the NBA’s biggest stage.
And [Artest is] the #2 guy on this squad, although he contends that he’s the MVP of the league. Great talent, no head: the Jeff George of the NBA . . . I still don’t trust [the Pacers] under real pressure, because I think Artest will explode, and O’Neal’s too in love with his jumper (and a little too fragile).
So I was partly wrong. Jermaine O’Neal might not face much wear-and-tear this season, since he’s suspended for 25 games.
It was wrong of the fans to throw stuff at the Pacers. It was wrong of Artest to race up into the stands. It was wrong of Ben Wallace to keep trying to incite Artest by throwing a towel at him.
But it was really bullshit of Artest to lie back on the scorers table, put his feet up, cradle his head, and preen for the opposing crowd, after he and Wallace were separated. That must’ve burned his general manager’s ass (some guy named Bird) to no end, to see his player dump that much disrespect on the game.
I agree with the season-long suspension that Artest’s been handed. Given his history of wig-outs, he needs some massive penalty to show him that it’s time to start taking those meds.
Oh, and nice job selecting Dennis Rodman’s number for your jersey this season, dick.