Ron Artest is a great man. He keeps the Lakers going with his strength and toughness, fans captivated with his one-of-a-kind swagger and psychiatrists employed with laundry list of issues. Any time an interviewer gets a chance to sit down with him, readers know they are in something for something special.
Recently, ESPN The Magazine caught up with Artest and asked him few questions. The topics for the conversation ranged from how he felt about Phil Jackson to whether he was clinically crazy. Eventually, it ended with Artest telling the world what would happen if he and Michael Jordan ever squared up in a game of one-on-one.
Some of the better excerpts from the interview are listed below:
Interviewer: ARE YOU CRAZY?
Artest: What's crazy? You need to decide. On Twitter you could say I'm pretty crazy, or you could say I just have a weird sense of humor. Off the court you could say I'm pretty crazy, or you could say I'm just ghetto. On the court you could say I'm pretty crazy, or you could say I just play really hard. To each person, I could be a different person. So you need to decide. Of course, there have been times when I've done crazy things. But I don't think I'm crazy. I just grew up in a crazy world.
Interviewer: WHAT DO THE DOCTORS SAY?
Artest: Well, there is a history of mental illness in my family. My auntie is in the hospital right now. She's had her ups and downs. I've had mine too. I first saw a doctor when I was 13, when I was getting in a lot of trouble. If I felt I, or someone else, was being disrespected, I would pick a fight.
Interviewer: HOW WOULD YOU TRASH-TALK AGAINST YOURSELF?
Artest: Well, I guess I would try saying, "You're crazy," or "psychopath." I got called both those things, and worse, in the playoffs. Fans in Utah called me Osama Bin Ron and said, "You need medicine," but none of that fazed me.
Interviewer: WHAT ABOUT PHIL JACKSON? DIDN'T HE GET UNDER YOUR SKIN?
Artest: Yeah, that's true too. Phil Jackson is the only person these days who can truly get under my skin. And he gets under my skin 80% of the time. Phil totally controls me. In practice, he'll always joke about me and bother me, saying stuff about my shoes or whatever. All season, he'd say, "Ron can't shoot." But after Game 4 of the Finals, when we were tied at two, he changed his tune. He came to me and said, "Ron, I need you to play your game. You have to make plays." Oh, man. I was so happy! I called Derek Fisher and a couple of my friends and said, "Coach told me I could make plays! Boom! Let's go." What happened? I made plays. When my coach and teammates are behind me, there's nothing you can do to stop me.
Interviewer: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?
Artest: Titanic. When DiCaprio is trying to save the young lady, that was dope. When she tries to save him, and he dies, that was dope too. That whole situation was tragic. When I saw the baby in the water, frozen? I cried a little, but mostly I was pissed. I'd just had my daughter, so when I saw that frozen baby, I was like, "What the f -- !? That's bull -- !" And let's not forget about Céline Dion. That woman is unbelievable. You know how much I love my music? Well, I wouldn't put out a song for 10 years if that meant I could put out a song with her. Her voice sounds like pure fresh air. It sounds like what it sounded like when the world was created.
You can find the entire interview HERE.