20 / November
20 / November
MC Artest Strikes Again

In a shallow attempt to gain street cred, rapper MC Artest provoked a violent altercation with the Detroit Pistons that degenerated into a brawl with fans. Artest, as you may recall, also plays off guard for the Indiana Pacers when he's not partaking in his true musical passions. A few days ago a major story broke, reporting that Artest had asked out of as much as a month of the NBA season to promote his rap album. He will probably get his wish after Friday night's fiasco at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

With a few seconds left in a game that the Pacers had won, Artest committed a hard foul against Ben Wallace (the last guy in the NBA, including Shaq, I'd want to do that to). Wallace retaliated, and Artest bizarrely reclined on the scorers' table in response. A fan disturbed Artest's rest by accurately lobbing a full beer cup on his uniform, and then all hell broke loose (Seriously, other than stepping on a rapper's shoes, messing up his threads will really, really cause a beef). Artest went NHL, charging into the crowd and indiscriminantly throwing down with fans. The Pistons faithful generally gave as good as they got, save one man who was absolutely nailed by Jermaine O'Neal.

NBA emissaries brawling with fans might be seen the logical extension of the league's insulting of basketball fans by discarding rules against travelling, carrying, and mugging offensive players, or a fans' revolt against the punks that populate the rosters of too many teams. Or, perhaps, punks on the court attract punks in the stands. However you want to interpret it, one can't escape the reality that images of crying children, flattened old ladies, and bloodied men aren't good for the league.

Never one to fail to note the obvious, a stunned Bill Walton observed: "This is a low moment in NBA history." Ya think?

posted at 02:55 AM
Comments

I can't stand Artest, and hope he is suspended for the rest of the season, but your facts aren't quite accurate.

The foul to which Big-Ben so violently reacted (whipping the fans into a frenzy and ultimately resulting in a riot) was a garden variety hard foul at best. Wallace lost his cool for no apparent reason.

Artest amazingly did not engage Wallace (Ben would have killed him, but Artest is crazy), and chose to calmly recline on the scorers table waiting for cooler heads to prevail. Then a soaring full cup of beer hit him square in the head.

Artest (wrongly, but understandably) went in to the 3rd row of seats to exact revenge for the beer-assault; only to get sucker-punched by a massive fan wearing credentials. Then, once Artest had returned to the floor, some idiot Pistons fan who had had 10 too many drinks lept onto the court and took a threatening step towards Artest. Artest threw a punch at him, the guys budy tried to tackle Artest, and then Jermaine blew up the friend with the punch of the year (boxing or otherwise).

What followed was a melee of thrown beer, food and a chair by dozens of fans. They should certainly suspend Artest, O'Neal and Jackson; and their will certainly be criminal charges and lawsuits. Hopefully the fans involved will get prosecuted as well.

Speaking as someone who lived in Southern Michigan for four years and has been to Detroit on many occassions, I would expect nothing else from the residents there.

Posted by: Brad on November 20, 2004 12:44 PM

My problem with the foul which instigated it is my problem with the NBA. It was the NBA understanding of "no easy layups" which to these guys means "we aren't going to play good defense but we will jump on your back when you beat us to the goal." The Pistons actually won the championship last season by playing team defense, it was quite a throwback. I think you are right Brad, it was a garden variety foul . . . which is why the NBA has bigger problems than its drunk fans.

Posted by: Brian on November 20, 2004 01:16 PM

Brian,

I'm not quite sure what your point is re: defense. These are two of the premiere defensive squads in the NBA. Artest and Wallace are 1st-team defensive players in the NBA. A hard (but clean) foul to prevent a lay-up is a good thing. It let's the offensive player know that there are no easy baskets to be had, and he better think twice about scoring in the paint. In this regard, it is similar to a safety laying a hard hit on a receiver who has just caught a pass over the middle - the receiver will hear footsteps the next time.

From my perspective, Wallace and the fans have an equal if not greater share of the blame here. Forget Artest's history for the moment (e.g., Shaq said he would have responded the same way, and I think it's fair to say most NBA players would agree), and think about what actually happened. A player commits a hard, clean foul, and in return gets a two-handed throat-shiver from one of the strongest, toughest guys in the game. What does he do? He backs off and lays down on the scorer's table only to get hit in the head with a beer. Suppose the fan had been courtside, would that take away some of the drama of "going into the stands"? Is there really a significant difference between that and the 3rd row.

I hate Artest, but I can't help taking his side here.

Posted by: Brian on November 20, 2004 02:29 PM

The above post is mine; that's twice. My apologies.

Posted by: Brad on November 20, 2004 02:29 PM

Arrogantly laying down on the score table = deserve to have fans throw things at you.

Posted by: MC Jesus on November 20, 2004 05:53 PM

If arrogant displays by athletes warranted the hurling of beer, every sporting event would be three feet under in Bud Light.

The ran, rather, deserved what he got.

Posted by: Brad on November 20, 2004 06:24 PM

Brad, you repeat exactly what I say in the post: that Artest laid down a "hard foul" against Wallace and then you proceed to write as if you're taking issue with me on that point.

What you leave out is that the "hard foul" came when Indiana was well ahead and the game was already over. Wallace may have overreacted, but he overreacted in a "garden variety" way. It was what Artest did--go into the crowd and engage in random fights with numerous fans--that was the thing that was out of the ordinary, and deserving of censure, here.

MC Jesus correctly points out that Artest arrogantly laid on the scorers table, almost as if to say, "Everyone, look at me. I've done nothing wrong"--forgetting that he started the whole fight (and wasn't prepared to deal with Big Ben's return fire). Artest didn't "calmly recline" on the scorer's table, as Brad claims, but calculatedly reclined on the scorer's table to be a show-off and mock Wallace. Some drunk fan interpreted this accordingly, and did what scores of other drunk, idiot fans have done in the past. Artest reacted in a way that no NBA player has done in the past.

Posted by: Dan Flynn on November 20, 2004 06:59 PM

Dan:

You do refer to Artest's foul as "hard," but in the previous paragraph you set the table for the implication that the "hard foul" was flagarant and/or dirty: "Artest provoked a violent altercation with the Detroit Pistons that degenerated into a brawl with fans." This, in my opinion, is a mischaracterization of what actually happened.

I said the foul was a "garden variety hard foul" at best; it was borderline between a normal, incidental foul and an intentional hard foul. Wallace's reaction - a running two-handed jab to Artest's throat - was way beyond a proportional response.

And who cares what whether or not Artest's posture was arrogant. Arrogant or not, it was non-violent, and that's the whole point.

The simple fact is that Wallace and the fan initiated the ensuing violence. Artest was reacting to both instances of aggression.

Posted by: Brad on November 20, 2004 07:56 PM

Brad, it's pretty simple. Wallace pushed Artest's face, which is something that happens in the NBA every night. The fan that threw a drink on Artest also did something that happens with some frequency, although obviously probably not on a nightly or even weekly basis. They acted poorly, just as Artest acted poorly in making a bush-league foul when the game was in the bag. This isn't a story because Wallace pushed Artest's face or because some idiot fan doused Artest with a beverage. This is a story because Artest went into the stands to fight fans. Artest's actions, not Wallace's or the fan who threw the drink, is what is so exceptional. Nothing good can ever happen when a player goes into crowd.

Posted by: Dan Flynn on November 20, 2004 09:24 PM

I find curious this whole idea that so long as a person is non-violent, nothing they do can rise to the level where violence is an appropriate action (or at least not altogether inappropriate). There are plenty of things that a person can say or do that are meant to aggravate someone else to a level where they would be violent. It's hard to take the side of the guy who gets a swift punch to the face after taunting someone to hit them.

Posted by: MC Jesus on November 20, 2004 09:32 PM

There was no sense of 'rising above it' when Artest "calmly reclined",he simply didn't have the character to stand up to wallace's reaction to his cheap shot foul. However he had no problem standing up to a small white guy with glasses. The no.1 bad guy in this situation ,without doubt,the highly paid Artest.

Posted by: alan on November 21, 2004 12:12 AM

I agree, Artest was afraid of Wallace and he took that out on the fans.

Posted by: mlm286 on November 22, 2004 07:28 PM

artest should not be so dumb.im not talking about the fans here, i am talking about artestīs own safety. how can he provoke a monster as ben? indiana had the game on the pocket and there was no need to stop those 2 pionts.

Posted by: al on March 10, 2005 06:44 PM

Artest has no guts to stand up to Big Ben.but Ben should be wiser.with the horrible phisycal strenght he has he could perfectely damage someone in a serious way.

Posted by: george on March 10, 2005 06:47 PM
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