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Artest Says He Was A Coward

December 16, 2010

In an post game interview, Ron Artest wishes he could’ve done more for the team and city of Indianapolis. These are the growing pains of maturing into a man. Don’t beat yourself up about it Ron.

From IndyStar:

By now, most Indiana Pacers fans have forgiven Ron Artest his trespasses during his days in Indianapolis.

Artest, though, has not.

Even as he continues to bask in the glory of his first NBA championship, Artest lives with deep remorse over how it all came down in Indiana.

“A coward, I was a coward,” Artest said before Wednesday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Pacers. “When you do coward stuff, you feel like a coward. I don’t care if it was done intentionally or by mistake, you’re still a coward. I don’t care how young I was. That’s not an excuse.”

In the moments after the Lakers’ Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics last spring, Artest’s shout-out to his psychiatrist garnered most of the attention. But it was the first words he spoke at that podium, words of regret and shame that he hadn’t done things right in Indiana, that resonated the most locally.

“When I was younger, I bailed out on my Indiana team,” he said during that interview session. “I was so young, so egotistical, and I bailed out on (team executives) Donnie (Walsh) (and) Larry (Bird) (and former teammates) Jermaine (O’Neal), (Jamaal) Tinsley, (Jeff) Foster, who never bails out. He just fights for you, for his team. Stephen Jackson, who already had a ring, continued to fight for us.”

Interesting, wasn’t it? That in this moment of his greatest personal glory, the championship trophy and his children in his lap, the first thought that popped into his mind was a basketball team he toiled for several years earlier.

“I’d been thinking about that for a long time, even when I was in Houston (2008-09),” Artest said Wednesday. “I always think about those teams. We were in a foxhole together. (Then-coach) Isiah Thomas kind of got me brainwashed, in a good way, and got me connected to the team.

“But I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready mentally. It was really a family, so it felt like I had let down my family.”

Let me stop here, just for a moment, and write this simply:

I’m happy for Ron Artest.

And I’m proud of Ron Artest.

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