No stranger to controversy, LA Laker, Ron Artest continues maneuver his career to the beat of his own ball. Coming into the NBA about a decade ago, the proud Queensbridge native has consistently proved his athletic ability on the basketball court. However, his rough play, suspensions and admitted “wild behavior” early in his career have earned him a reputation as one of the NBA’s infamous bad boys. But with his first NBA championship title in place, Artest has become a hero of sorts to fans on both coasts.
From an unknown vacation spot, RonRon phoned into VIBE to discuss his surreal performance in game seven, his reasons for seeing a psychologist and working with Dr. Dre. Let the games begin. –Mikey Fresh
VIBE: Your publicist tells me your overseas somewhere, where exactly are you?
Ron: I’m still on vacation, man. I think deserve it—I mean I had the greatest season of my career. I’m actually on this small island near Puerto Rico. Keep it at that.
Congrats on finally winning an NBA Championship. Do you feel any different now?
Nah, I still feel like the same guy. I figure as long as I’m still living why not come up with some more challenges for myself. As long I’m able to still play basketball and my body is working for me—I have more goals to accomplish. God willing, I would love to get a couple more rings.
Is the actual championship ring everything you thought it would be? You’re not planning on taking it down to Jacob or anything… are you?
I didn’t even get mine yet. I’m never going to put it on though, being a Laker really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I’m giving one away to the fans in October and my wife is going to get the other ring. And that’s her yelling in the background because she heard me [laughs]. My career isn’t over, so I want to make sure I don’t take anything for granted. No seeing Jacob [laughs].
"Jesus was stoned, there's no reason I can't be stoned..."
What was most your most intense moment of Game 7?
The craziest moment was being down thirteen points and having doubt in my mind. I started thinking that it was a possibility we could lose. But just having that will to not give up is what made me a champion. As a team we all had to find a way to come together.
That last three you made shocked everybody. What do you think Phil Jackson would have said to you if you missed the shot?
He probably would of said, [Ron does his best Phil Jackson impersonation] “C’mon make a shot Ronny, make a shot!”
What about Kobe?
He would have been pissed off. There’s no denying that, but it’s just him wanting to win so bad and having that warrior spirit. He’s unreal, I don’t know how else to sum it up. His talent is unbelievable… Kobe’s not human.
The first thing you did after you won was shout out your hood. What do you think was happening back in Queensbridge after that?
Definitely a lot of bottle popping and furniture being broken [laughs]. I’m from the biggest neighborhood in the world, and I’m proud of that. And I know all my people in QB are too. Me winning is like the whole Queensbridge winning a championship. We’re going to have parade when I get back to New York. I haven’t even been home yet.
Have any rappers reached out to congratulate you?