Ron needs to be careful however, he has an NBA rap sheet as long as my arm. Remember when the Pistons and Pacers fought in Detroit, and the Pacers fought with fans? Ron started it.
For brevity, I'll just quote Wikipedia. If you have read this far, you probably know the story:
The brawl began with 45.9 seconds remaining in the game, when Indiana led the game 97–82. When Piston center/forward Ben Wallace was fouled by Pacer forward Ron Artest, Wallace responded by shoving Artest in the face, which led to a physical confrontation between several players from both teams. During the argument, Artest laid down on the scorer's table while putting on a headset speaking with Mark Boyle on the local radio. He also taunted Wallace which led Wallace to throw an armband at him. A spectator, John Green, then threw a cup of beer at Artest while he was lying on the table, which hit Artest in the chest.
Artest responded by running into the stands and shoving the man he mistakenly believed was responsible, which triggered a violent response from nearby spectators, and involved Stephen Jackson who had also run into the stands. Another melee started when Artest was confronted on the court by two fans, Alvin "A.J." Shackleford and Charlie Haddad. Artest punched Shackleford, and Jermaine O'Neal intervened by slide-punching Haddad in the jaw.
So, last night, Artest runs the length of the court screaming and shouting at Bryant. Bryant did cheap shot a Rocket in Game One, but on the Kobe style, he kneed him in a pile-up. Bryant is an asshole, not an idiot.
This is the part I love. Here is what Artest had to say after the game:
"Uh, wow. I understand it's the playoffs. I remember when I used to play back home in the neighborhood there were always games like that. I remember one time, one of my friends, he was playing basketball and they were winning the game. It was so competitive, they broke off a piece of leg from a table and they threw it and it went right through his heart and he died right on the court.
"So I'm accustomed playing basketball really rough. When I came into the league, I was used to fighting on the court. That's how I grew up playing basketball. It took me a lot of years to back off and understand, that's not what the league is about.
"Now, I play fair and square and I lose fair and square. I put my arm on Kobe. I touch. You see your man and the ball. Just basic defense. He hits my arm down. I'm telling the ref, he hits my arm. You can't do that.' Then he did it again. I tell the refs, 'You got to control this.' Then he throws an elbow right in my neck. I told Kobe, you can do whatever you want to do. I'm not reacting. I'm going to let the refs control it.'
"What am I going to do" I'm going to continue to get hit? In Game 1, he elbowed Shane. The league says he was just trying to get up. But in Game 1, he clearly was overaggressive on Shane. My team, we're not like that. We're going to win fair and square or lose fair and square. We're not going to initiate anything.
"Kobe is great enough to take over games and lead his team. He could have done it without that.
"For me, the game was great. It was fun. The new league we're in, it was overaggressive. You have to have (guts) to hit a guy like me in the throat. I'm hoping the league looks at it.
"I knew I was going to get a technical foul. The point was to let the refs know I'm (angry), I'm tired of this guy elbowing me. I knew I went over there, no punches, no shoves to the face. Just confrontation. I backed off. That's a technical foul, I would think.
"I went over there with the intention of telling Kobe, you're hitting the wrong person. Don't you know you're hitting Ron Artest?"
God Bless you Ron Artest. I'm cheering for you to win, and I hope all the table legs are secured.
EDITED TO ADD: The next time I end up in a physical confrontation with someone, I'm going to shout, "DON'T YOU KNOW I'M RON ARTEST!"