As the summer neared an end and the reality sunk in that I won't have the joy of covering Ron Artest in this coming season, I began to miss those days when Artest was saying something new and newsworthy almost every day.
Then while I was in a Kings planning meeting with the Bee higher-ups and numerous colleagues, I received an e-mail from the Houston Rockets small forward (that just sounds strange) as if on cue. Artest decided to share his thoughts with numerous media members on today's controversy surrounding Josh Howard, the Dallas small forward whose latest transgression was an unpatriotic rambling regarding the Star Spangled Banner at an Allen Iverson charity event in July.
After starting his own conversation on culture in July before heading for Houston, Artest weighed in on the racial element of Howard's comments.
"I think josh howards comment is a reflection on education. I think the schools need to teach deeper in the history classes and make the students aware of racism but also teach them that all people are not bad. "I can relate to not feeling wanted by my own country at times but as I dug deeper I realized that America is divided and we need leaders to bring America closer together. An example where I felt unwanted by my country was when I didn't get a chance to tryout for my national team. I believed it was because of my history.
I hope he overcomes this.
What jumped out at me first about Ron's comments was the reference to the Olympic team. Artest was obviously mad/disappointed/all of the above over not being considered, and he is certainly correct that his past played a part. Beyond that, I found his message both sincere and simplistic. Interestingly, he e-mailed from an address connected to his XCel University charity organization rather than his typical generic address. The mission of XCel is to encourage kids in high-risk neighborhoods to focus on education and staying out of trouble. It seemed like he was looking for a plug, and I have absolutely no problem obliging. Go here for more on that program. - Sam Amick