There was this one time in the shower…..
Kobe said that after the Lakers lost game six of the '08 NBA Finals in Boston by 39 points, he was alone in the shower, just fuming. He heard somebody walk in and assumed it was one of his teammates, or maybe a staff member. Instead, he looked up, and it was Ron Artest (to this day, Kobe has no idea how Artest got into the locker room).
"I want to come help you," Artest said. "If I can, I'm going to find a way to come to LA and give you the help you need to win a title."
“Um, thanks Ron, that means a lot. Now can you hand me the loofah?”
Artest apparently pictures himself as the cavalry, riding over the hill with trumpets blaring just as the battle seems lost — he alone can save our heroic leader. A fascinating self-image for a guy who seems closer to having multiple personalities than riding to the rescue.
Artest is great in the community, one of the more giving (especially of his time) players in the NBA. He has gone into the stands after a fan (and was suspended 73 games). He plays with a rare ferocity on the court. He has ripped a phone out of press row and thrown a television monitor onto the floor after a tough loss. Despite an immense talent, he has been traded or let go from every team he has been on because they got sick of dealing with him. Last season he consistently would yell at Houston point guards for not getting him the ball enough, regardless of the hot hand (something that has to have Pau Gasol wondering).
After a year of good chemistry, the soap opera is back in Los Angeles. The Lakers are going to be a lot more entertaining and with Artest around. Despite the owner seemingly living in poker rooms and cavorting with women his players couldn’t land, this is a button down organization. When a trade happens, it is long set before word leaks public. The only reason this signing got announced early was Artest told a reporter, it wasn’t the Lakers. And Kobe himself is the most demanding of discipline or all.
Artest does things like put a cell phone chat with his agent up on youtube. Can’t wait until the first time he does that to Kobe. That will be a shower scene to remember.