Yao Ming Sticks His Foot in His Mouth, Ron Artest Helps Remove It

Joe WillettSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2008

This articls is also published at Hoops4Life.com, a great place for basketball information.  I decided to post it here because, well, you all seem to like this kind of stuff.

Everybody knows that Ron Artest has been traded to the Rockets.  It's been major news seeing as he is a high quality basketball player who creates a buzz wherever he goes.

I'm sure that if you look all over the blogosphere you can find content that says that Artest is going to make the Rockets a worse team and that his personality off the court is going to hinder his performance on it.

However, Artest has been pretty good at keeping his name clean over the past year or so and, in my opinion, he is becoming a changed man.  Much like T.O. in football, Artest realizes that his career is coming to an end and that he needs to clean up his image to leave on a high note.

However, most casual fans are going to look at Artest's past, mainly the Big Brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills between the team he was then on, the Pacers, and the Detroit Pistons.  We all remember Artest getting hit with the cup and reacting by running into the stands and punching the fan that he suspected threw the cup.

But that was nearly four years ago, and since then, Artest has kept his name pretty clean.  Surprisingly, Yao is one of the people that has concerns about Artest messing up the chemistry that helped the Rockets go to the playoffs last season as well as win 22 straight games.

However, Yao Ming is not some random blogger or even a member of the media.  Ming is a player, and more importantly, a new teammate to Artest.  When some guy in the media calls you a distraction, you say he doesn't know what goes on in the locker room, that he isn't there when he is having a great time with the guys.

Artest can't do that with Ming, because that would create the distraction that Ming had predicted.  Even worse, he could go to the media and talk about how he was right and make the situation even worse.

But this doesn't add pressure to Artest as much as it makes me feel that Ming needs to learn how to talk to the media better.  He said things that should never be said about a guy who is coming to a new team.

"We worry about the new attitude to the team. We are adding talent to the team and we need that, but building team chemistry is important. This is not bad. I don't mean he is not welcome to Houston. But a new player always needs some time.

"Also, he was the biggest part of a team in Sacramento. He was a star player. We need more chemistry and more communication.  There's worry. Obviously, yes. We will think about it, of course. Hopefully, he's not fighting anymore and going after a guy in the stands," said Ming.
These are not things you say to about a new player.  You say that he is going to be a welcome addition to the team and that he is going to have a smooth transition.
If somebody asks about his past, you say that he has done nothing wrong since he has been a Rocket.  The past is the past, I haven't seen him hurt our team except when he played us.  Shunning a player is not the way to make him feel like a welcomed addition and it lets him know that you are skeptical about him.
Another thing that Ming let slip is that he's not alone in his feeling that Artest can be a cancer.  "When I text messaged with Luis (Scola), we talked about team chemistry. That's only what worries us," said Ming.
When you bring other players into this, you let everybody know that this isn't one man with a concern, but that there are going to be multiple people that he is going to have to win over.  Luckily for Yao, Artest responded exactly like he should have.
When Artest was on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, he was calm and said all the right things about the brawl and his new team.  "I was a little bit disturbed, mainly because [of] the brawl comments.
"That's four years removed from now, maybe four or five years removed…I wanted [Yao] to know I was a little bit frustrated, but I understand where he's coming from. But I cannot wait to be a part of that team," said Artest.
I never thought that these words would come to my mouth (okay, to my keyboard) but I think that Yao Ming needs a little media class taught by Mr. Ron Artest.
I'm Joe W.
Joe also writes for TheDailyCub.com, a Chicago Cubs blog, and Hoops4Life.com, a basketball fan's site.