"I've got Wheaties!!" yes you do Ron Artest, you also have your first championship ring of your roller coaster career. In one of the most memorable post game press conferences of all time (you can find it on YouTube), Ron Artest was happy to see his Wheaties. If game 7 was any indication, Ron Artest had been eating his Wheaties all day. In a game where Kobe, the best player in today's game had a miserable shooting performance(6-24 from the floor) Ron Artest played like a possessed man determined to lead his team to victory playing 46 minutes scoring 20 pts grabbing 5 boards while stealing Boston's momentum not once, but 5 times. The man from Queensbridge, NY knew it was win or bust and he wanted it bad.
Game 7, we heard it all day the most important two words in sports: Game 7 and with game 7 comes respect, respect is earned not given. Two teams have battled it out for 6 games, traveling back and forth to each teams respective city those who want it, will show up this much is known. Rasheed Wallace started the game off in place of injured big man Kendrick Perkins and 'Sheed was scoring early. The Lakers had offensive struggles and many MJ fans started flooding social networking sites proclaiming Kobe could never compare to Jordan.
The NBA world was shocked, how could the most dominant man in the playoffs be struggling so much, did he not realize that the championship was on the line? Well for so long everyone said Kobe had a better supporting cast than LeBron and if anything, it showed in Game 7. Fisher, Artest, Gasol, Odom "The Supporting Cast" showed up in a game where Kobe needed them the most. While Kobe ended the game with 23 worked for points and 15 rebounds, Derek Fisher had 10 pts all of them coming off big shots. As noted earlier Artest had a huge game, Odom had a energizing 3rd quarter and ended the game with 7 pts and 7 rebounds while Gasol who Kobe calls the "Spaniard he loves" finished the game with 19 pts and 18 rebounds.
Legacy-something that those will remember you for many years after your time has passed. In sports terms, your legacy is how kids will look up to you, how the historians will describe you, how fans will remember you. We all know the obvious Kobe Bryant's legacy is mentioned among the great one, "MJ" thats all you need to know who I'm talking about.
So Kobe we know, what about the "other guys" Artest-the man who started the infamous "Malice in the Palace". While playing for the Pacers he punched a fan in the face during a game against Detroit and was suspended for the rest of the season following the ugliest event in NBA History, Artest left the Pacers and headed to Sacramento, he wanted to lay low. He did for a while and then in 2008 Artest was traded to Houston and his career was starting to turn around, Artest really never found himself in an ugly situation after the incident in Detroit. The '08 season went about and the Celtics beat down the Lakers in the NBA Finals but what happened next meant even more to the Lakers. Ron Artest came into the shower while Kobe was showering and proclaimed how bad he wanted to be playing alongside Kobe so in this past offseason Lakers went and signed Ron, and June 17th, 2010 will go down as the happiest day of Ron Artest's life, he played a major role in the biggest game of his life.
Derek Fisher "The Silent Assassin" the man who has been clutch his whole career made a big 3 in Game 7 vs Celtics to give the Lakers a lead and crunch time had arrived. But what most don't know, Derek Fisher doesn't care about how many rings he has, he cares about the health of his daughter (in a story that is high profiled) and the Lakers organization then he does himself. At the end of Game 7 Fisher was more proud that the Lakers had now obtained title #16, but still 1 behind Boston who has an NBA leading 17 franchise titles. With all that being said, when you look back at Derek Fisher you will see a team player showing up, when it matters most.
Pau Gasol the man who Dr. Jerry Buss stole from the Memphis Grizzlies has been nothing but consistent and played a big role (no pun intended) with Bynum being injured, Kobe shooting poorly Gasol showed up in game 7 and was one of the major keys to the Lakers winning titles in 2009 and 2010. When the people look back at this big man's career they'll see him as consistent, and as the right man to the Lakers success Post-Shaq ERA.
So the Lakers are NBA Champions for 2 straight years going for a 3 peat and everyone on that roster should be back, and for the Celtics retirement, free agency and coaching changes (Tom Thibodeau has agreed to a 3 year contract to coach the Chicago Bulls starting next year) might break up that organization but only time can tell. But what we all know, when we look back 10 maybe 15 years from now we will see D-Fish as the man Kobe looked for in the clutch. Ron Artest, would have gone from the man who hit a fan, to the man who won the fans heart with a marvelous game 7. Pau Gasol will be remembered as Kobe's right hand man, and for that one guy, yea Kobe Bryant. Well his time isn't over but if I had to make a prediction I'll predict he'll end his career will end with as many titles if not more, then Michael Jordan (don't worry Bulls fans Jordan is still the best ever) Kobe, just wants it so badly, he won't stop till he's retired.
I host a sports talk show Tuesdays and Thursdays on http://www.ericpedigo.com its called Mike'd Up it airs 8-10 PM Central time, come check it out sometime I hope to be writing for Bleacher Report for a while.