Ron Artest is a “Tru Warier.” Honest. It says so right on his Web site, truwarier.com. It’s also the name of his record company.
There’s not much information on the site, which exists to sell his records. But it does have a statement from Artest explaining that he got the title “True Warrior” at the Rucker basketball tournament in New York, where he grew up.
He writes that he changed the spelling — maybe he thought we wouldn’t notice — and adopted the name. Then he offers a definition:
“A TruWarier now is any individual with the ultimate determination to accomplish anything. It also means to set your mind in a positive mode and crush negative influences.”
He might want to go back and maybe add a paragraph or two explaining how that pertains to a guy who’s so lacking in ultimate determination he can’t find the energy to record an album and play basketball at the same time.
He might realize he’s anything but a true warrior, just a true pain in the butt who’s not worth having on your team because you never know when he’s going to want to take some time off, or when he will do something stupid and get himself suspended. It might occur to him that he’s made himself more trouble than he’s worth to the Pacers.
I doubt that he will. Artest probably sees no incongruity between the self-serving drivel he dishes up and the reality of his actions. Even after being benched for two games for having the chutzpah to ask the Pacers for a month off from his job so he could recover from the onerous burden of running around promoting the wonderfulness of himself, he didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Compared to him, Ricky Williams is the model of rational behavior.
Artest guessed that his coach, Rick Carlisle, and the team “probably expected a little more; expected me to play every game. Everybody’s different. It’s early in the season, so I feel like I could take some time off early and be ready for the long stretch.”
Yep, everybody’s different. Some people actually expect you to show up for work every day. Some people think that when you’re making $40 million over six years for a job that includes a three-month summer vacation, you might have some sort of obligation to your employer.
Some people think if you say you believe in something, your actions should reflect that.
Here’s something else Artest said. It’s taken from the Pacers Web site and he’s his response to the question: “What’s the most important thing a coach ever told you?”
“Team basketball wins.”
That’s what he said. Taken in light of his most recent actions, that statement proves what a lot of people have been saying for several years, that Artest is a self-centered jerk.
Not that being self-centered is a crime. All of us are. The basic biological rule is to look out for number one. But most of us realize that the best way to take care of yourself is to meet your obligations, to take care of those with whom you live and work.
You can be as egomaniacal as you want. We might rip on you for it, as Terrell Owens has learned. But if you do your job and make the plays and help the team get somewhere good, we’ll live with it.
Artest has always had trouble with that concept. His utter lack of self-control on the court has led to several suspensions, none of which do his team any good. But now he’s showing that it’s more than self-control that he lacks. He has no sense of responsibility.
You sign a contract, you live up to it. It’s that simple. The reason he’s making so much money at the tender age of 24 and the reason anyone would even care about his musical efforts or the clothing line he’s designing is because he’s a really good basketball player.
He seems to think it’s the other way around and that he is a fabulously talented artist.
The self-deception is incredible. Artest grew up in the Queensbridge projects in New York. He should understand how incredibly lucky he is to have a skill that makes him rich and important.
But he doesn’t see it. He’s let the toadies around him convince him that he’s the lord of the universe, that the sun revolves around him, that he can do anything he wants because he’s the man.
He figured he’d be there at the end of the season to help out. If I’m the Pacers, I don’t want him anywhere near the team six months from now. He’s a headache they don’t need.
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