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.