Artest takes center stage at MH+L Magazine release party

Ron Artest continues to bask in the aftermath of the Lakers win over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, and in the process he is giving fans a chance to see a different side of him.

Artest has been busy since the Finals doing the TV talk-show circuit and making the radio rounds, and on Friday he helped kick off MH+L magazine’s release party with a live performance of his new Rap single “Champions” along with Rap star and producer T-Pain.

I have to say, Ron looked pretty comfortable up on stage as he performed in front of about 300 or so VIP guests at J Lounge in downtown L.A.

The song, which he actually cut last year shortly after the Lakers ousted his Houston Rockets in seven games in the Western Conference playoffs, is not bad at all, and Ron seemed very much in his element while performing it.

“It’s funny because this is a side of me not too many fans know exists, but this is the music I love and people are slowly starting to recognize that I’m pretty decent, that I can do it,” Artest said.

As far as any stage fright, you can forget it. Artest looked more comfortable up there then he did playing in the triangle offense earlier this season.

“Initially I get a little nervous, but as soon as I hit the stage and the fans go crazy, boom, I am ready to go,” he said.

Artest is obviously enjoying his new-found celebrity, but he understands it all starts with what happens on the basketball court.

And it obviously doesn’t hurt he now calls Los Angeles home, and the team he plays for just happens to be the world champions.

“I’m just blessed to be in Los Angeles playing for the Lakers. The city makes the Lakers and the Lakers make me, and without any of that, there isn’t any of this,” Artest said. “And now that I have been blessed to win a championship, to be a champion, it’s given me the opportunity to come out here and perform and gave some fun.”

Music and rapping has always been a part of Artest’s life, a chance for him to express himself through his writing and performing.

“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed,” Artest said. “It comes from the heart, being able to go up there on stage and touch some people. I really love it.

“The key for me is keeping it real and trying to be inspirational. It’s not an easy thing, taking your feelings and your words and trying to make a song people will like. But I enjoy the process.”

VINCENT BONSIGNORE

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