AT SOME TIME or another, every one of us needs advice, someone to turn to in times of strife and confusion. And I think we can all agree that this person should be Ron Artest.
The combustible Sacramento Kings forward writes an advice column in Dime, a magazine catering to the young, urban, hoops-obsessed reader. And who better than Artest? I mean, look at this man's credentials for counseling the young people of America.... O.K., so he doesn't have any credentials. But he's had plenty of strife and confusion!
There's only been one column so far, but it was epic. It's called Ask Ron-Ron. It's even got a picture of him in a suit, and instead of a pocket square he's got $100 bills. So you know you're dealing with someone you can trust.
Here are some samples from that column, and I swear on both retinas these questions and answers are real.
Hey Ron-Ron, what's your favorite quote?
Artest: My favorite quote is, "I'm a smack the [expletive] out of you."
This is such a coincidence, because that kind of thinking has earned Artest his latest suspension, after he was arrested on domestic violence charges for allegedly slapping and knocking down his wife, Kimsha, and refusing to let her leave their 6,500-square-foot house in the Sacramento suburbs. According to the police, Kimsha broke the windshield on his Hummer with a frying pan.
Hey, Ron! How do I get back with the mother of my child?
Artest: Take it slow ... make sure it's a stable relationship so the child doesn't suffer.
Again, it's funny that Artest should go there. Because three of his kids live with him in Sacramento and might have noticed the five times police have responded to 911 calls from his home since August. And the visits from animal-control officers who've charged him with starving his dog. Those incidents probably had no worse effect on the kids than a particularly spirited episode of SpongeBob, don't you think?
Dear Ron-Ron—What were your thoughts on Stephen Jackson's club altercation?
Artest: If I was there with Steve, anything he woulda did, I woulda did.
I'm not sure which is more brilliant here, Artest's invention of a grammatical tense or his lack of contrition. This is a guy who, when he was a teammate of Jackson's with the Indiana Pacers in 2004, ran into the stands during a game at Detroit and took a swing at a fan, igniting the worst brawl in NBA history. It was fueled hugely by Artest's and Jackson's chin-seeking haymakers. That cost Artest a 73-game suspension and more than $5 million in pay.
Put it this way: Anytime, anywhere you're with Artest or Jackson, anything they gonna did, you ought not gonna did.
What kind of financial advice would you give to a rookie coming into the League?
Artest: The first thing you should do is put money in real estate, that's the safest investment.
Not sure I'd really want financial advice from Ron-Ron. This is a guy who financed his own vanity record label—Tru Warier—just so he could put out his own CD, which sold a whopping 343 copies in the first week. And then—and then!—he asked his coach, Rick Carlisle, if he could take a month off to promote another CD on his label. During the season!
R.A.—What's the best job to have in basketball besides being a player?
Artest: If I wasn't a player, I would wanna just work with players. I don't wanna be a head coach.
You can sort of see why Artest would say such a thing. Every coach he's had has ended up gobbling Tums. This is possibly because Wrong-Wrong has sabotaged every team he's been on: Chicago, where he was fined and sent home—from rookie orientation; Indiana, where he feuded with star Jermaine O'Neal; and Sacramento, where he has clashed with guard Mike Bibby.
Other advice columnists may say to Artest that we need ABBY—Any Body But You. Me, I can't wait for the next installment of his column, when I expect the first letter to be ...
Dear Ron-Ron—My brothers and I used to own a good NBA team until we started paying a complete thug $7 million a year. All he does is dog it and get busted more often than Otis of Mayberry. What should we do?
TALK BACK If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to email@example.com.
Artest's column is called Ask Ron-Ron. It's got a picture of him in a suit, and instead of a pocket square he's got $100 bills, so you know it's someone you can trust.
RIFFS of REILLY
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