Written By: Stephanie Santa Maria
Ron Artest is the most controversial player currently playing in the NBA and one of the most controversial players in the history of the NBA. His temper has led to several suspensions including a 73-game suspension for his part in the Pacers-Pistons brawl that spilled into the seats. He is also recognized as one of the top defensive players in basketball.
Ron Artest was born on November 13, 1979 in Long Island City, New York. He spent his childhood growing up and playing basketball in the Queensbridge Projects in Long Island.
Ron Artest chose to attend the St. John’s University where he was touted as one of the top players in college basketball. In 1999, the Chicago Bulls used their first pick, the sixteenth pick overall, to select Ron. Although he was a solid player for the Bulls, they traded him to the Indiana Pacers in 2002.
While playing for the Pacers, Ron Artest made a name for himself with his playing ability and the controversy he created. After the 2003-2004 season, he was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. He is consistently named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team as well. His temper during games added to his intimidation on defense, but he also began to face suspensions as a result of his antics.
In 2003, Ron Artest threw a television in the tunnel at Madison Square Garden during a basketball game against the Knicks. He received a three-game suspension. Later in the season, he had a confrontation with Pat Riley, coach of the Miami Heat, which led to a four-game suspension.
On November 19, 2004, during a basketball game with the Detroit Pistons, a scuffle broke out between Ron Artest and Pistons’ player Ben Wallace. After removing himself from the situation, Ron Artest was hit in the head by a drink that a fan had thrown at him. Ron Artest jumped over a table and entered the stands where he began hitting a fan he believed to have thrown the drink. He returned to the basketball court where he was confronted by Pistons’ fans that he fought with as well. As a result of Ron Artest’s actions during the controversy in Detroit, he was suspended by the NBA for the rest of the season, 73 games. He returned to the Pacers for the 2005-2006 season, but the Pacers traded him to the Sacramento Kings in the middle of the season.
After Ron Artest joined the Sacramento Kings, they improved their record immensely and made the playoffs as the eighth seed. Unfortunately, controversy continued as Artest was suspended for the second game of the series after elbowing Manu Ginobli in the head. The Kings lost the series in six games.