Ron Artest: Hennessy at Halftime? What Gives?

Kyle W. BrownContributor IIDecember 2, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08:  Ron Artest #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers on th ecourt in the game against the New Orleans Hornets on November 8, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 104-88.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Ron Artest is new to neither criticism nor controversy. 

We all remember what happened at the Palace when he jumped into the stands and began fighting with Detroit Pistons fans.

Last week, the Lakers' star showed up on Jimmy Kimmel Live in just his boxers.

He's been suspended multiple times, arrested for domestic abuse, had his dog confiscated by Animal Services, and once showed up to a Pacers practice in a bath robe.

Now, Artest finds himself in the spotlight again, this time after he admitted in an interview with Sporting News that he used to drink Hennessy, which he kept in his locker, at halftime when he was with the Chicago Bulls.

It has been reported by many blogs that Artest attributes his drinking to the dismal play of the Bulls, who in his rookie year went 17-65.

Artest opened up more on the topic of drinking, claiming that he used to drink and party every night, and also used drugs during his college days at St. John's.

In the article, Artest provided more controversial ammo, claiming that NBA referee Joey Crawford cost the Houston Rockets a game by being a fan of Kobe Bryant. He revealed his thoughts on the brawl in Detroit, stating that he didn't think he could have reacted any differently.

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He also called out Big Ben Wallace in the article, saying, "I'm always in the mood to fight him. I'll just fight him right there." Perhaps this is a result of his recent training to become a boxer following retirement.

While the sporting press will surely have a field day with this story, there is a deeper issue at hand: Why is Artest suddenly revealing all of this? He has never been the type to shy away from the media, nor has he been the type to avoid controversy. 

So, why now? Why finally speak out about the Malice in the Palace, five years later? Why is he now finally challenging Wallace, so long after the incident? Why is he revealing that he drank cognac in Chicago?

I don't have the answers, but something is definitely rolling in Artest's head. It's no coincidence that he took the sports networks by storm with his stunt on Jimmy Kimmel last week.

The real story will be why Artest is throwing himself back into the centre of the sporting world, be it negatively or positively. 

I don't know, but I know I will be excited to find out, and you should be too.