Ron Artest is an out-of-control thug.
He should be suspended a minimum of ten games, which would put the Lakers playoff possibilities in jeopardy, which is what they get for signing and starting a bully like this. On second thought, maybe this clown should be kicked out for life.
More to the point, Commissioner David Stern should reserve the right to extend the suspension based upon how long James Harden is out. Would it be fair for Artest to be playing in the playoffs if Harden is out of the Thunder line-up? Of course not. And Thunder fans, be objective. If no Harden, there's no chance. We saw that yesterday.
In case you missed the action, Metta World Peace (Artest) dunked the ball to bring the Lakers within one point of the Thunder with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter of Sunday's matchup. Moments after the dunk, Artest was celebrating his throw down when he violently elbowed Harden in the head and was issued a flagrant foul 2. Harden spent multiple minutes on the floor in pain and eventually left the game to not return due to a concussion.
Without Harden, there's too much one-on-one jump shots and standing and watching. There's too little passing and too few drives to the hoop and getting to the line. Losing an eighteen point lead to the down-and-out Lakers was a disgrace. But it was nowhere near the disgrace of Artest's elbow to the head of ‘The Beard'.
The intent was to injure. The thrust of an elbow from a brute who's 6-6 and 255 pounds is much more than a blow by Mike Tyson to the head of a boxer.
The history of Artest and anger and violence in the NBA is extensive. He has been suspended for 13 games in his career and let's not forget what happened just last year. While apologists keep saying he's a new guy and he's been out of trouble for a long time, that's simply not true. Just ask JJ Barea and the Dallas Mavericks.
Los Angeles and ESPN writer JJ Adande put it in perspective. He wrote, "Adande: "one neutral NBA team member called World Peace's shot the worst thing he's seen since Kermit Washington punched RudyTomjanovich." Washington's career was effectively done after his malicious blow.
I'm sick of hearing those apologists compliment Artest for his "classy comments" after the game. The man who needs daily anger management therapy essentially said he was sorry that Harden's head got in the way of his celebration. Laughable. If there was any remorse at all, or if it were indeed unintentional, Artest would have immediately turned back to console Harden.
But no, Artest didn't do that. He just kept on running. Now it's time the commissioner did some running of his own. It's time to run Ron right out of this league.
Follow Dean on Twitter-- @DeanBlevins