NBA LA Lakers: Why Phil Jackson Says Ron Artest Is Nothing Like Dennis Rodman?
The Los Angeles Lakers' Ron Artest might have had two off nights on this recent road trip, including only scoring three points last night against the Detroit Pistons, but there is no denying that Artest is an integral piece to the Lakers' three-peat desires. He brings toughness, defense and as he displayed in last year's NBA Finals, key spot scoring.
But while so important to the Lakers, Ron Artest has been misunderstood during his career because, on the surface, he appears to be a photocopy of Dennis Rodman, who played in the 1990s on Michael Jordan & Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bulls.
Artest dyes his hair and has the tattoos that remind everyone of the eccentric Rodman. Artest even goes on talk shows in his underwear that recalls Rodman dressing up in a wedding dress for a book signing.
And, even on the court, both players are former NBA Defensive Players of the Year. They get after opposing players and referees equally. Both players get under the skin of the player they are guarding. They bring attitude and intensity to the court and play like their lives depend upon it. Both are great players in their own rights.
But, the comparisons need to stop right there. These two are nothing alike. It is merely coincidence that they seem the same. It may be more attributed to Artest following the Rodman "playbook" on how to gain fame.
Rodman supposedly was told by singer Madonna (who “the worm” as he was called in the 1990s dated), that to get notoriety, you need to do outlandish things, be different.
Well, no one in NBA history has been more unique or different than Rodman. And, sure Artest seems the same. But he isn’t.
But, don’t take my word for it. Take Phil Jackson’s.
In the newly release book by Laker owner Jeanie Buss, Laker Girl, Jeanie’s boyfriend is none other than head coach Phil Jackson. Jeanie says that she has specifically talked to Phil about the Rodman and Artest comparison.
And, Jackson says in the book that there is no comparison. The only place they are similar is their performance on the basketball court, being amazing defenders. Beyond that, there is no similarity.
Check out the next slides and we’ll talk about why Jackson believes this. Then, maybe, you'll understand where Phil is coming from.
Rodman an Emotional Roller Coaster
Rodman was an emotional roller coaster, Jackson says in the book, Laker Girl. The former Bull coach had to tip-toe and know when to get on Rodman or back off. Taking Jackson's comments, Rodman sounds like a head case and comes across that way. He was up one minute and depressed the next. Jackson never knew which Rodman would show up.
Rodman Was Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde
It literally was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Rodman. It sounds like he struggled with manic depression tendencies his entire career.
There is the legendary rumor that when Rodman was with the Detroit Pistons, before the Bulls’ years, he cried during a game and again during a practice. He was an emotional wreck and unpredictable.
All About the Dress
For Rodman, it was always about publicity. There was the book signing when he showed up dressed in a wedding dress. He'd taken Madonna's lesson on creating an image to the extreme. But, it worked. Everyone knew Rodman.
All about the Hair
But for Rodman, it was always about the hair, even after his stint with the Bulls. His final round in the spotlight was with the Lakers. Almost the same hair as Artest, huh?
All about the Hair, Part 2
Ron Artest may be following Rodman's publicity game plan, but that is as far as it goes.
Ron Ron, on the other hand, is a rock of consistency, according to Jackson. Artest has one speed and one speed only—intense. He gives 100 percent during practice, just like a game. He always has the same demeanor. Jackson loves this about the player.
Ron Artest: Mr. Consistency, at Least According to Phil Jackson
And, Artest has dealt with his demons of his past. He has overcome his anger through counseling. Artest has moved beyond, grown up so to say.
Rodman might be partying right this minute, getting wasted and trying to drown out his issues. Artest has matured and changed.
Ron Artest Simply Following Dennis Rodman's Publicity Game Plan
Artest might be following the Rodman media handbook, and that is why he is compared to the Bulls’ legend. But hopefully, everyone can look past the crazy hair, the publicity stunts and realize, like Jackson and Kobe, that Ron Artest is the last of a dying breed of warrior, willing to leave everything on the court.
Ron Artest Goes to War with Kobe Bryant
Say what you want about him and his past, but Ron Ron is a warrior. It is no wonder that Kobe Bryant wanted him on his team and has said that Artest is one of the few players in the game he truly respected. No surprise these two gladiators now go to battle together, fighting on the same team.
Like Michael Jordan with Dennis Rodman before him, Kobe Bryant has partnered with Ron Artest for one ring already and are driving themselves to another. It will be fun to watch this season unfold as these two go to war each and every night.
Want to learn more about Kobe Bryant's warrior mentality and why he wanted Ron Artest on his team? Check out the new book, The Kobe Code: Eight Principles for Success-- An Insider's Look into Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant's Warrior Life & the Code He Lives By @ www.PatMixon.com.