Ron Artest Made No Friends When He Initially Joined The Lakers
The Lakers are a pillar organization in the NBA with a long, rich and storied history. They have 16 titles, 11 of those since moving to LA. Their last being in 2010, a team that included Ron Artest, now known as Metta Sandiford-Artest, who played a major role in winning the championship that year. Things certainly didn’t get off to a hot start upon his arrival. The Lakers were coming off a 65-win regular season blowing through the league and really only had trouble with Houston in the second round, a team that included Artest, on their way to securing a title. The only real difference between that team and the 2010 Laker team was the subtraction of Trevor Ariza and the addition of Artest. In one of the first few practices as a Laker, Artest jawed at superstar Kobe Bryant so much that Phil Jackson had to mediate.
This was in an interview with Tania Ganguli/Broderick Turner of the LA Times:
“One day in practice I just disrupted the whole practice because I didn’t want them to think, Metta’s on this team, he don’t got a ring, we got a ring, he just gotta come in with the ultimate respect,” said. It was still a lot of respect, but I had to — I just wanted to compete. I just got finished losing against these guys.”
Some of this may have been lingering from the previous year when Kobe and the Lakers eliminated Artest in the playoffs with Houston. Athletes are human too, with massive egos. So it’s not too surprising to see the new guy on the team trying to impose his will and earn the respect of teammates who had ended his season the year prior. I would say everything worked for the best as the Lakers went on to win the NBA title again that year, completing the difficult and ever-elusive back-to-back.