Dec 2, 2009, 2:30 PM EDT
Recent tweet from Bill Simmons: “Mrs. Keaton’s out of the closet, Tiger is a cheater, Artest drank during NBA games, Iverson is a 76er, Pats are dead… my head is spinning.” Wait, what’s that about Artest? In a story posted at The Sporting News web site today, the Lakers forward said that, as a member of the Bulls, he used to drink during games. As in, alcohol. With all the other stuff going on, Artest almost slipped this one past us. Oh Ron-Ron, you sly boots.
Artest, it seems, kept a bottle of Hennessy in his locker for his own private halftime entertainment. But there’s more.
In a lengthy interview for the December 7 issue of Sporting News magazine, Artest–best known as the central figure in the infamous Malice at the Palace in 2004–bared all, including a startling admission that he drank alcohol during games as a member of the Chicago Bulls, for whom he played from 1999-2002.
“I used to drink Hennessy … at halftime,” Artest says in the interview, which hits newsstands this week. “I (kept it) in my locker. I’d just walk to the liquor store (near the stadium) and get it.
One now wonders if Artest was blasted when he ventured into the stands as a member of the Pacers during the infamous Malice in the Palace brawl. Oh yeah, about that: Artest still insists none of that was his fault. In fact, he says only God could have stopped it.
On the 2004 brawl in Detroit for which Artest was suspended 73 games and lost $7 million in salary: “It wasn’t my fault. … I don’t see anything I could have done different. The only thing I could have done was have God pause time so I could have said, ‘Oh, look, you’re about to run in some stands, so stop.’”
Artest also revealed that after basketball he plans to be a professional boxer.
“I started training two years ago,” he says. “In four years, I’m going to try to have my first fight.”
Starting at a later age than Rocky Balboa is not advisable, unless you’re planning on only taking movie punches. But at least we’ll get some good quotes at the weigh-in. So next on the agenda, I guess, is David Stern’s reaction to all of this. I’m guessing he’ll ignore it.
Ron Artest admits to drinking during games [NBCSports]
SN Conversation with Ron Artest: ‘I used to drink Hennessy at halftime’ [Sporting News]
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