Ron Artest choked on Friday.
Not in a small way, either. This qualified as one of the worst choke jobs I’d ever seen, enough to warrant the Heimlich from any Kings fans passing by. Of course, it had nothing to do with hoops, and everything to do with horseradish.
Shortly after the Kings small forward had his first practice with new coach Eric Musselman, he dined at a restaurant in the Maloof-owned Palms Casino in Las
Vegas, where Artest promptly stopped munching on the fried noodles that led to the near-disaster. It was, as third-year shooting guard Kevin Martin noted, the all-New York table with Artest, swingman Francisco Garcia, and rookie shooter Quincy Douby on hand.
That’s the running joke about this team lately, considering Artest is from Queensbridge, while Garcia and Douby are from Brooklyn. And while it was the first meeting between Artest and Douby, it was the less anticipated meet and greet of the day.
That morning, it was Musselman who was trying to spoon feed his new system to Artest and the youngsters in preparation for Artest’s summer league debut on Friday night. Musselman was all over the floor, but he went out of his way on numerous occasions to break things down for Artest, who said he supports the new coach and gave positive reviews about their first experience. The comic relief was in the corner, where Musselman’s two sons played and, at times, fought over a handheld video game system to pass the time. And, of
course, they were both sporting Ron Artest t-shirts.
Highlights from the action before the Kings game included the first Amare Stoudemire showing. The Phoenix center whose comeback from microfracture
surgery last year continues looked good, scoring 21 points to go with seven rebounds, seven fouls and six turnovers against Minnesota– a true summer league line.
The defensive play of the day went to Texas product LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland. Aldridge, who was selected second overall by Chicago and traded to the Trail Blazers, met Golden State’s Will Bynum at the rim for a monster block. Bynum had come flying from the left with a Michael Jordan-esque dunk attempt before he was stuffed and sent to the deck.
– Sam Amick