|Position||Small forward/shooting guard|
|Birthdate||November 13, 1979|
Ronald William Artest, Jr. (b. November 13, 1979) is a small forward/shooting guard with the Houston Rockets. Artest gained a reputation as one of the premier defenders in the game today, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004. However, he is one of the most controversial players and known for being one of the central figures in the Indiana Pacers-Detroit Pistons brawl.
- Despite Artest's 13 rebounds (one shy of his career record), he was only able to make five of fourteen shots on the November 19th game. Artest commented: “Honestly, I can’t even remember what happened ... I can’t remember the game.” Coach Adelman attributes this partially to a missed practice: "I thought we were just discombobulated ... Whether it was Yao being out, Ron missing practice yesterday, Tracy — it just seemed we were out of sync completely in this game.” 
Artest was born and raised in the Queens bridge projects in Queens, New York. He played high school basketball at La Salle Academ and college basketball at St. John's University from 1997-1999. In 1999 he helped the Red storm to the Elite 8 losing to Ohio State in a classic. He gained fame playing in some of New York City's high profiled summer basketball tournaments at Nike Pro City, Hoops in the Sun at Orchard Beach, Bronx New York and Dyckman Park at Washington Heights, earning himself nicknames such as Tru Warrier and The New World Order, a name he received from Randy Cruz (one of the co-founders of the Hoops In The Sun basketball league at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, New York).
Artest was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 16th pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. In the 1999-00 season he was named to the Schick All-Rookie Team. In 2 1/2 seasons with Chicago he averaged 12.5 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 2.9 assist per game, and 2 steals per game.
While playing for the Bulls, Artest was Michael Jordan's "favorite Bull".
In 2002, Artest was traded by the Bulls to the Pacers, along with Ron Mercer, Brad Miller, and Kevin Ollie, in exchange for Jalen Rose, Travis Best, Norman Richardson, and a second-round draft pick. Artest had his best season in the 2003-2004 season. He averaged 18.3 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, and 3.7 assists per game. He made the 2004 All-Star Game as a reserve and he was the Defensive Player of the Year.
On November 19, 2004, Artest took center stage in arguably the most infamous brawl in professional basketball history.
The game took place in Auburn Hills, Michigan between Artest's Pacers and the home team Detroit Pistons. The brawl began when Artest fouled Pistons center Ben Wallace as Wallace was putting up a shot. Wallace, upset at being fouled hard when the game was effectively over (the Pacers led 97-82), responded by shoving Artest, leading to an altercation near the scorer's table. Artest walked to the sideline and lay down on the scorer's table. Reacting to Wallace throwing something at Artest, Pistons fan John Green threw a cup of beer at Artest, hitting him. Artest jumped into the front-row seats and confronted a man he incorrectly believed to be responsible which in turn erupted into a brawl between Pistons fans and several of the Pacers. Artest returned to the basketball court, and punched Pistons fan A.J. Shackleford, who was apparently taunting Artest verbally. This fight resulted in the game being stopped with less than a minute remaining. Artest teammates O'Neal and Stephen Jackson were suspended indefinitely the day after the game, along with Wallace.
On November 21, the NBA announced that Artest would be suspended for the remainder of the season (73 games plus playoff appearances). This is the longest non-drug or betting related suspension in NBA history. Eight other players (four Pacers and four Pistons) received suspensions, without pay, that ranged from one to thirty games in length. Each of the Pacers players involved were levied fines and ordered to do community service. Several fans were also charged and were barred from attending any events at the Palace for life. Artest lost approximately $7 million in salary due to the suspension.
Aftermath and tradeEdit
Early in the 2005-06 season, Artest requested a trade from the Indiana Pacers and was put on the team's inactive roster. Artest's call for a trade created a rift between him and his teammates. “We felt betrayed, a little disrespected,” teammate Jermaine O'Neal said. As for their basketball relationship, O'Neal said: “The business relationship is over. That's fact.” Pacers president Larry Bird said he also felt “betrayed” and “disappointed.”
On January 24, 2006, reports from NBA sources confirmed that the Sacramento Kings had agreed to trade Peja Stojaković to the Pacers for Artest. However, before the trade could be completed, many press outlets reported that Artest had informed team management that he did not want to go to Sacramento. According to Artest's agent, his original trade request was only made because he was upset when he heard rumors that the Pacers were going to trade him to Sacramento for Stojaković early in the season. While not denying his agent's story, Artest did deny that he had rejected the trade to Sacramento, saying that he would play anywhere; hence, contradicting earlier press accounts stating Artest was holding up the trade. Given conflicting accounts, it is unclear why the trade was delayed, but it was nevertheless completed on January 25 and Artest was officially sent to the Kings for Stojaković.
Though traded midseason to the Kings franchise, Artest quickly found his place on the team by providing some much needed defense. Though many feared his abrasive personality would be a problem, he worked well with his teammates and then coach Rick Adelman. Since acquiring Artest in late January 2006, the team immediately went on a 14-5 run, the team's best run of the season. The Kings broke .500 and landed the eighth spot in the Western Conference. This prompted ESPN to declare that “Ron Artest has breathed new life in the Sacramento Kings and enhanced their chances of reaching the playoffs for the ninth straight year.” Fox Sports proclaimed, “Artest has Kings back in playoff hunt.” Wells was later picked up by the Houston Rockets and then traded to the New Orleans Hornets for former Sacramento Kings player Bobby Jackson. Artest also offered to donate his salary to retain the services of head coach Rick Adelman, whose contract expired after the same season. Adelman and the Kings did not agree on a contract extension so the two parted ways.
Houston Rockets Edit
On July 29, 2008, it was reported that Artest was to be traded to the Houston Rockets along with Patrick Ewing, Jr. and Sean Singletary for Bobby Jackson, recently drafted forward Donté Greene, a 2009 first-round draft pick, and cash considerations. The deal was officialized on August 14, due to Greene's rookie contract signing on July 14. In response to the trade, Yao Ming was generally positive, but commented that “hopefully he's not fighting anymore and going after a guy in the stands.” In response, Artest said, “This is Tracy (McGrady) and Yao’s team, you know. I’m not going to take it personal. I understand what Yao said, but I’m still ghetto. That’s not going to change. I’m never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don’t think he’s ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture.”
Since then, Artest and Yao have exchanged extensive phone calls. Artest has also said, “Whatever Adelman needs me to do, whether that’s come off the bench, sixth, seventh man, start, I don’t even care. Whatever he needs me to do, I’m 100 percent sure it’s going to workout.”
On October 30, 2008, Artest received his first technical as a Houston Rocket, as he raced towards a group of Mavericks players and then quickly went to Yao Ming who bumped Josh Howard after play stopped. Artest was trying to pull Yao Ming away from the play and to the foul line, but contact was made with Maverick players. The TNT broadcast crew felt this technical was not warranted, and was based upon Artest's prior reputation as a feisty player in the league.
In spite of his abilities, Artest has been the subject of much controversy. During his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, he was subject to criticism for applying for a job at Circuit City just to get an employee discount. He once attended an Indiana Pacers practice in a bath robe. He was suspended for two games in the early 2004-05 season by Pacers coach Rick Carlisle after he allegedly asked for a month off because he was tired from promoting an R&B album for the group Allure on his production label. Also, the inspiration for Artest choosing 93 as his number was inspired by Souls of Mischief's 1993 album 93 'til Infinity.
In October 2005, Artest gained more attention when he, fully clothed, graced the cover of Penthouse magazine. It also was reported by Placer County Animal Services and by Artest that he agreed to allow Socks to be adopted by a new owner.
In 2008, Artest appeared in a video promoting companion animal spaying and neutering for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals entitled “Have the balls to spay and neuter your dog.”
- Artest's father is a bouncer at Pastis, a restaurant/bar in Manhattan.
- Artest has 2 younger brothers, Isaiah and Daniel.
- As a teen, Artest was teamed with Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brendan Haywood of the Washington Wizards and Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers on the same AAU team.