Posted by Sekou Smith
LOS ANGELES — Ron Artest‘s first taste of the NBA Finals was everything he thought it would be, and a bit more.
The “more” was the crowd gathered around him during the media session after the Lakers’ Wednesday morning practice, where Artest asked nearly as many questions as he was asked and played his part in an annual dance routine that he had to know was coming.
Bottom line, Artest with a sea of cameras, microphones and digital recorders in his face (above) is priceless!
Some of the highlights of the back and forth that is sure to entertain us all in the weeks ahead:
Reporter: What’s the best way for you to stop Paul Pierce?
Artest: I’m going to figure it out in Game 1. We’ll see. I don’t have the answer right now but by [Thursday night] I should, so we’ll see.
Reporter: How does it feel now that things are going your way, the game winner and a good performance in the close-out game of the Western Conference finals?
Artest: What things [going my way]? Oh, that’s in the past. I totally forgot about that. Whole new day, whole new story.
Reporter: Does the rivalry mean anything to you?
Artest: Not necessarily. This is my first year as a Laker, so I don’t really have anything to do with that rivalry right now. I guess, after [Game 1], after I play, I guess I’ll be a part of it. I don’t really know much about it. Of course, you know Bird and Magic. But I was always a Chicago Bulls guy so …
Reporter: When you came here you said this is why you came to the Lakers, to win a championship, so it’s all on the line for you?
Artest: I said that when I first came here, right?
Reporter: Yeah, and that if they didn’t win the championship to blame you.
Artest: I did say that, I did say that. And it’s great to be involved in what’s going on right now. And tomorrow it will be back to basketball. Today is more like an activity with all the media and it’s great. The media came from all over the world and that’s great.
Reporter: Do you think there’s more of a burden on your shoulders because of what you said?
Artest: It’s up to you, what do you think?
Reporter: Well, yeah!
Artest: (Smiling) Cool.
That’s vintage Artest. The scariest part is there’s more where that came from, so much more.
The kicker is, if his play in this series is anywhere near as good as the quality of his performance Wednesday, Artest will have to answer plenty of questions as we move on.