Defensively, Ron Artest can do just about everything. He's reasonably athletic, decently sized and ridiculously strong, a combination that allows him to be both an effective post defender and (probably) the league's best perimeter defender. Artest has quick hands, great instincts, the ability to get really close to his opponent and the ability to stay there, whose combination of size, skill, defensive smarts and sheer bloody-mindeness makes him highly successful at ruining opposing wing player's evenings. There's no such thing as a lockdown defender, but this is about as close to lockdown as they get.
Speaking of which; offensively, Ron Artest is about as close to awkward as they get. He can do most things; handle the ball, pass, shoot from outside, post up a bit, drive the ball and get out in transition. But he does them all in a way best described as.....well, awkward. Artest has to dominate the ball to be effective, isolates a hell of a lot, and tends to do the John Salmons-y thing of turning catch-and-shoot jumpshots into off-the-dribble jumpshots for no obvious reason. Artest is also very prone to bad shots, the classic shortcoming of a man who thinks he's better offensively than he is.
Of course, none of that is the first thing that you think of when you think of Ron Artest. You might first think of the lengthy criminal history (see below), or the tendency to break shit when he gets mad, as he so often does (see nickname). You might think of the time he charged into the stands trying to punch people (see this), or of the many times he talked openly about retiring (see this). You might think of all the stupid things he says (see this), the times he shaves words into his head (see this), the musical second career that he tried to launch (see this), or the following frankly hilarious picture (see this). And you might have watched with a curious fascination as the public's opinion of Ron Artest changed from him being a reviled scary violent deplorable citizen, into a genuinely interesting, quick-witted, kind hearted, revered media personality.
Either way, you've remembered him. And I think that's what he was going for.
- 13th October, 2010.