Ron Artest got word today that a friend from his childhood was killed in an act of street violence. He was unsure about the details, but he believed Mike Chatfield was killed in a shooting. Artest learned the game from Chatfield while growing up in the Queensbridge section of Queens, N.Y. “We would play and he would beat me, 32-zip,” Artest recalled.
Artest went on to play at St. John’s and in the NBA. Chatfield stayed behind on the streets, where he became something of a playground legend. He also had trouble with the law and served time in prison. “I think the streets got him,” Artest said. “He got killed. So, I’ll dedicate some of this season to him, my boy.”
Chatfield’s name first surfaced when Artest spoke of him during the Lakers-Houston Rockets playoff series. He said Brandon Roy of the Portland Trail Blazers was the toughest player he’s had to guard in his NBA career. He then mentioned Chatfield as the toughest player he ever played against anywhere.