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In today's blog I want to talk about those streaking Seattle SuperSonics, a team that won 10 of its first 12, a team that last night beat Minnesota on their home floor, a team ...
Wait, we're still talking about Ron Artest?
This story is like the song that never ends. Artest was suspended on Sunday for the entire season, including the playoffs, and is facing the possibility of being charged by the Oakland County prosecutor with misdemeanor assault.
With that backdrop, yesterday seemed like the perfect opportunity for
Artest, along with union chief Billy Hunter, to go on television and inexplicably mention the situation that the NBA and its players went through on Friday in the same context with the American war in Iraq.
Are you serious?
I'm not even going to begin to discuss the impropriety of discussing war in the same realm of a basketball game. Basketball is not war. No one shoots at you in a basketball game. No one plants land mines below the free throw line. Every single one of the men and women serving in our armed forces are heroes -- every single one -- and for Hunter to even suggest that the two were somehow related, in any way, is absolutely disgraceful.
I have listened all week to analysts and e-mailers tell me that Artest was provoked, that he did what any "real man" would do and he defended himself. If that's the case, where was Artest when Ben Wallace knocked him back toward the scorer's table? Was the cup that the fan threw that hit Artest in the chest any more provocative than what Wallace did? And Wallace wanted a fight. Don't tell me that Artest acted like a man by passing on the fight with the bigger Wallace in favor of witch hunt for a fan who hit him with a piece of plastic.
But the truth is I like Artest. Within the confines of the locker room, Artest is a pretty decent human being, affable, even friendly at times. But the displays of anger he shows on the court are something the NBA and commissioner David Stern simply will not tolerate.
What about the next time Artest throws a monitor, only this time a 7-year-old boy gets hit in the head. Then what?
During his press conference on Sunday, Stern issued what to me was an ominous warning to Artest: in order for him to be allowed back into the league when his suspension is up, he must be able to show that he is capable of assuming the responsibilities that come along with being an NBA player. Stern is not going to simply allow Artest to return to the NBA next season without irrefutable proof that Artest has cleaned up his act. Why would he? Why would you let a time bomb back in just to have it explode on you again?
What Artest needs to do now is forget about basketball, forget about music, and find some help for his problem. He's 25 years old, a tremendously talented player who if he gets the proper guidance could have a long and prosperous future in the NBA. What he can't do is sit around and think he can just wait out the suspension, because when the time comes for him to return, he can count on Stern standing in his way.
Quick hits (Boston edition)
In honor of the trek home to the newly crowned "City of Champions" for
Thanksgiving, I give to you sports notes, Boston style.
I don't know if the Patriots are incredibly good or just serendipitous.
First they lose half their secondary and replace it with a practice-squad player and one of their top wide receivers. Then they line up against a Chiefs team minus Priest Holmes and will face a Baltimore team this week that will be without running back Jamal Lewis. I guess it's better to be lucky than good.
With a win against Syracuse on Saturday, Boston College will secure their first BCS bowl bid in school history. A lot of experts are clamoring for the BCS to take away the Miami-less Big East automatic slot, which guarantees their champion one of the big-money bowl bids. But let me say this: BC's two losses this season have come by a combined total of six points. A couple of breaks the other way and we could have been talking about the Eagles as a top 5 team in the n nation.
Tough loss for the Celtics last night in Indiana. What makes it worse is they lost to a Pacers squad that looks more like a team of NBDL All-Stars. David Harrison, the last pick in the first round, though, is absolutely going to be a player.
Finally, belated congratulations to my hometown Quincy High girls volleyball team who, led by star seniors Nicole Cahill and Nicole O'Sullivan, advanced to the state championship last Sunday before succumbing to powerhouse Barnstable. Despite the loss it was a terrific run and a great season for the team representing the city of presidents.
Unless another fight breaks out -- see you next week.