For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s Third Law was on display Friday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Indiana’s Ron Artest delivered a hard foul to Detroit’s Ben Wallace in the game’s expiring minutes. Wallace reacted, to no surprise, with a shove to Artest’s face. But the actions that would follow were unforeseeable.
Removing himself from the on-court altercation, Artest found a spot to lie on the scorer’s table (possibly to rest after finishing his energy-draining rap album). Seconds later, Artest received a wake-up shower of concessions from a fan.
That led to Artest’s reaction – leaping over the table, blasting through media personnel and marching up rows of seats deadlocked on his target – one very regretful fan. Artest went at the fan like a tornado, throwing a whirlwind of punches. As he turned his attention to those trying to restrain him, Stephen Jackson picked up where Artest left off, pounding the fan like a jackhammer. Action then returned to the court, which only needed ropes to be a boxing ring. Artest pummeled another fan while Pacers center Jermaine O’Neal earned a 25-game suspension with a blow to a fan.
NBA Commissioner David Stern was left no choice. His reaction was to suspend Artest for the remainder of the season, Jackson for 30 games, O’Neal for 25, Wallace for six and others for single games.
This is Artest’s seventh NBA-mandated suspension since the 2002-03 season. His violations include leaving the bench during a fight, elbowing a player, vandalizing a locker room, throwing a television monitor, an obscene gesture and numerous flagrant fouls. As malicious or outrageous as those infractions might have been, none compare to Artest’s rampage in Detroit.
With all his free time, I wonder what a day in the life of Artest will be like this season.
7:00 a.m. – Artest’s alarm goes off. He can’t find the snooze, so he throws the alarm to the ground and stomps it into silence.
8:10 a.m. – Artest grabs a bowl of cereal and heads to the couch to watch the Pacers struggle without him and O’Neal. He shouts a few profanities at the television and heads to his studio to work on his second album.
10:30 a.m. – Artest has been rapping and mixing beats for a solid two hours. Making albums is grueling, so Artest makes some Easy Mac and grabs a nap.
1:30 p.m. – The mailman should be here soon. Artest is eager to read the new Sports Illustrated, so he decides to play basketball until it arrives.
1:38 p.m. – Mail hasn’t come.
1:49 p.m. – Artest spots the mailman next door. He tries to patiently wait while the mailman makes small talk with his neighbor, but fails. Artest hops the fence and attacks the mailman, thrashing through the bag in search of his magazine.
3:55 p.m. – Artest finishes reading his Sports Illustrated. Upset that Rick Reilly used him as an example in his column on violence in sports, Artest calls up Reilly and gives him an earful.
6:45 p.m. – Artest meets a dinner date at a new Indianapolis restaurant. The food was great but the service was terrible. Artest elbows the waiter in the face and vandalizes the dining room.
8:30 p.m. – After venting over the phone to former St. John’s head coach Mike Jarvis, Artest curls up on the couch with a pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream and puts in a DVD.
11:04 p.m. – It’s been a long day Artest, get some sleep.
Mike Durkin welcomes comments at [email protected]