Ron Artest vs. Phil Jackson


Late Thursday night, Artest’s account posted a string of tweets expressing frustration with Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

The first unedited tweet, posted around 9 p.m. PT, read: “Finally Phil Jackson didn’t mention me in media before talking me Now I can build on game 2. Hopefully he talks to me before the media.”

The next unedited tweet, posted approximately an hour later, read: “Ever since phil mention things about me in media before coming to me first I was weird . So every pray he can somehow close his yapper.”

Artest’s brother claimed that the account was hacked, but when a reporter paraphrased the tweets and asked Artest about it, he said:

“No, no, you have to read it exactly. That’s exactly what I said? If you can’t get it exact, then I can’t answer it.”

“I’m here to talk about basketball, basketball, all basketball,” Artest said. “Twitter is for my fans, not for [media].”

For his part, Jackson says that he spoke directly to Artest about the issue at hand — his terrible three-point shooting.

“So, you know, we expect him to break out of it at some point, but he’s got to be discriminative in what’s a good shot and what isn’t.”

Jackson, who described Artest as a “naïve, innocent lamb” during the first-round series against Oklahoma City said, “I guess he might be a little sensitive,” on Friday.

“I usually tell the truth,” Jackson said of his thought process behind commenting about his players to the media. “I usually don’t pull punches, so, I mean, a person has to withstand that. If they’re hearing it on TV in front of a massive audience, they must understand that their coach saying it to them will be probably a little bit more harmful, a little more hurtful perhaps. They have to be tough enough to take that and move on.”

Jackson tweaks, he doesn’t tweet. He relishes needling everyone — players, coaches, officials — through the media, though I doubt he’s ever run into someone like Ron Artest. The Zen Master should tread carefully.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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The Education of Ron Artest

Artest sits down with a former elementary school classmate to talk about his childhood.

Ron Artest loved recess as a kid. At his elementary school, P.S. 122, after lunch students would either fill the auditorium to watch movies or empty into the yard behind the cafeteria and run wild. It depended on the weather. But rain or shine, the youngster known as Ron-Ron was happy. When indoors, he was entertained by DTV: Pop & Rock, which was a VHS compilation of songs from the 1950s set to Disney cartoons. (His favorite was Sheb Wooley’s “The Purple People Eater.”) He preferred, however, playing handball or punchball in the massive schoolyard. And that was where I broke up a fight between Ron and a friend of mine in the fourth grade.

Kosta* was a tough, stocky Greek kid with serious pluck, but this was a mismatch. Ron had him beat on height, reach and sheer aggression. “Ron was bothering my cousin and I went to defend her,” Kosta says today. “Then he punched me.” Basically, Ron hit Kosta and Kosta hit the floor. “Ron dropped him like a sack of potatoes,” remembers John Castellano, a witness to the scrap. Afterward, Ron stood tall breathing heavy, emphasizing his exhale. His lower jaw jutted out and his arms were extended, balled into fists. I stepped between him and Kosta, who was still slumped against a fence. “Thomas,” Ron seethed. “You don’t understand. You don’t understand.”

It’s a good read.

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