This will probably become a regular fixture, so I’m preemptively series-erizing this. These are my thoughts, more unfocused and scattered than usual.
Oh, to be the King of Queens
Ron Artest’s performance on and off the court last night encapsulated everything to which this blog was founded upon.
Players of his caliber and of his volatility will always have the ability to surprise you, even if you try not to let them. You think you know a person, but with Artest, the only thing we know is that we have no idea. Artest has no ability to hide himself. There is always full disclosure.
His presence has only the ability to bring out the best of us as fans, or the worst. But yesterday, we saw Ron play with joy. And we saw him celebrate his first championship with joy. And in the span of 3-4 hours, we saw just what the game of basketball means for a guy like Ron Artest.
It’s validation for the wrongs he’s committed in the past. Artest apologized profusely in interviews for his transgressions during his Indiana days in 2004. He’s made amends with the man whom he so infamously attacked. And every game he plays, a new opportunity to heal his self-inflicted wounds, and a new opportunity to regain the affection he so desperately craves. From the league, the fans, from himself.
We’ve all come to realize what Ron Artest is. Yesterday, we’ve been reaffirmed that Ron is very much aware himself. And for more reasons than one, this game is his haven. A game that embraces his eccentricities; that at its best, hides his flaws, and at its worst, showcases them in the clearest way imaginable. Basketball will always be inextricably linked to Ron Artest the person. It is the mirror that affirms who Ron Artest is: A man who isn’t afraid or ashamed of his flaws. A man who hopes his exuberance for life will make up for it all. That’s what he knows. And so, that’s what we know.