Ron Artest wasn’t happy that Charles Barkley criticized him Thursday for his many off-the-court pursuits, just after TNT showed a feature on the Lakers’ forward. So, Artest spent most of Friday afternoon blasting Barkley on his Twitter feed. Artest then vented for nearly 12 minutes to reporters before tonight’s game against Memphis.
Here’s the gist of the rant:
“TNT did a(n interview), and the first two or three minutes was about how I give back to the community, the Lakers’ community. They showed this. They did a story on me on TNT last night. The next part was how I’m loving L.A. and the next part was about my music and how I helped the Rockets last year. He tried to turn the whole story around. ‘Ron Artest, he wants to rap and do all this stuff. He better be focused.’ That whole story had nothing to do with that. TNT was trying to make me look good. Charles tried to make we look bad. … Charles totally took my spotlight, you know? He could have picked another time to do that. He could have took that another time. He was just saying, ‘Ron Artest better not go in there rapping and being a distraction.” … So, he took that whole spotlight they did on me, he took that away. He wouldn’t do that to Dwyane Wade, to LeBron James, he definitely wouldn’t do that to any of his Nike people … Here I am, just doing a lot of things in the community, had a great season last year, took a team basically with the Hall of Famers out, almost took them to the championship. I’m, like, all right. Where’s all this stuff coming from?
“The main thing is, I don’t do a lot of other things. I don’t do State Farm commercials. I don’t do Nike commercials. I don’t do Sprite commercials. You don’t see me jumping in the water. I don’t do nothing else but music. That’s all I do. I’m not doing commercials in the playoffs. So, that’s like saying Kobe should never have done that commercial in the playoffs. Or LeBron James. What’s the difference. The good thing is that it’s not the first thing I’ve been through, so I can deal with that. That’s the good thing. So, it’s not like something that would bother me, but it was something I felt was worth speaking about. … I do a lot of good things. I’ve been with my wife since I was 15 years old. What can he say about that? I’m still with my high school sweetheart in the NBA. … I’m not going nowhere. I would never leave my wife for no girl. I’m going to be movies, acting, a video with Toni Braxton. I’m not leaving my wife just because there are so many pretty women out here. I think that’s successful. I think people, kids, can learn from that. What’s he got to say about that?
“I’m still the last one in the gym. What about that? For him to throw me off of my rhythm, I’m rapping about women in Afghanistan getting abused. Isn’t that a good thing? They’re getting abused and nobody knows about it. The song probably wasn’t great, but the idea was good. The message was there. If they talk about me on TNT, he shouldn’t say anything. I notice he likes (San Antonio’s Manu) Ginobili and Pau (Gasol). Kenny (Smith) wasn’t there. If Kenny was there, it would have been different. The thing about me, I don’t know how Barkley got his position. I would love to work for the NBA or TNT. I wouldn’t kiss nobody’s (rear end). I would love to work in the front office, but you could bet I wouldn’t kiss nobody’s (rear) to get that position. Maybe I need to be more like Tiger Woods, but that’s impossible. I can’t do that. I think he just took my shine. … Let me explode first. Let it happen.
“It was a great piece by TNT, and Charles was, like, why is he rapping? Then, he’s talking about this might be my last go-around. Last go-around for what? I signed for five years. Maybe I might get another contract after this. Why are you telling general managers this is my last go-around? Maybe I want to play 20 years in the NBA. I’m in good shape. Can I get another three-year deal, if I choose not to retire after this contract? Last go-around for what? I’m having fun playing basketball. So, he’s, like, I don’t even know what he’s talking about. Last go-around. If he has any issues, he can talk to Mitch or Kobe. Don’t talk to me. I was planning to go to Greece, and my agent told me, ‘L.A. wants you.’ Don’t talk to me.
“No, it don’t (matter what Barkley says), but I thought it was important that I say something about him and what kind of person he is. He’s been doing to it to me for a long time. Last year, that’s why I said he was overrated. I liked how he played. He was big like me. Strong. Real athletic. I’ve got the same type of body. Maybe a little better shape, but I’ve got the same body. So, I enjoyed his play. He was strong and could run. I think he wants me to be something I’m not. I think that’s what it is. More NBA stature player. A model citizen, and I think I am by default. Instinctively, I think I do good things. It’s totally not done for the cameras. … It’s all right. I’m still in L.A. Jack Nicholson is going to be here tonight.”