Ron Artest may have just won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, but they aren’t the only team the small forward wants to see win.
"I just want to see the Knicks do well, but as a fan, I’m getting tired of them losing," Artest said on ESPN 1050 New York radio. "I can’t wait to see them do well."
Born in New York City, Artest played his college ball at St. John’s University in Queens and never let his passion for the Knicks dissipate. Clearly, his patience is wearing thin, but he attributes that to the lost appeal that playing in New York once carried. Competing in the biggest city with the brightest lights and largest spotlight — what once brought high-profile free agents looking to prove they could win on the biggest stage — has become a source of intimidation.
"It’s hard to play in New York," Artest admitted. "New York is a tough crowd. If you want to become huge, a big star and try to win, and have a risk-reward type of thing, it’s a good thing to come to New York. You can try to win and become huge forever. In New York, they remember you forever."
For better or worse.
Allan Houston and Patrick Ewing own soft spots in the hearts of many Knicks fans. They are celebrated and cherished for the effort and achievement they poured into the franchise. But then there are players such as Shannon Anderson and Howard Eisley who make New Yorkers’ blood boil, and they always will.
Perhaps this dissuaded LeBron James from picking the Knicks, who considered setting up a celebrity panel to get the King to the Big Apple. Artest, too, "wanted him to come."
"I can’t wait to see more players to come here," Artest said."Don’t pay attention to the fans. That’s it. Pay attention to the game and to your coach. Just don’t pay attention to the criticism of the media and the fans. It’s a tough crowd in New York, and you have to come in knowing that. Once you understand that, you’ll be bulletproof.
"It goes game to game. You’re winning one game, they’re happy. You lose, they say you suck. Just be bulletproof to that."
Hopefully free-agent acquisitions Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton — both of whom Artest believes are good for the team — know that already. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year certainly does, and he even entertained the idea of restoring glory in his hometown.
"I can’t wait to possibly one day play in New York, and come into the Garden with Kobe in the front — I don’t know how this would ever happen — and win a championship in New York and go onto the Queens Bridge right after and party hard," Artest said.
Now that’s just a cruel dose of false hope for tortured Knicks fans.
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