Ron Artest is not like every other athlete out there, obviously, for good and for bad, and in his upcoming decision about whether or not to stay in Sacramento and not opt out of his contract after this season, he’s scoping out what the fans think of him. Per the Sacramento Bee’s Sam Amick:
But in the never-ending evaluation process that’s going on in his mind, he said the way in which Kings fans perceive him certainly matters if he’s going to consider staying in Sacramento.
“If I’m going to be in Sacramento, I want to know what the community is thinking about me,” he said.
His latest research came after the Kings’ loss to the Lakers on Sunday, when he went on the Internet to assess the latest tone.
“(After) that last game, it was ‘Ron Artest don’t pass the ball,’ and one guy said he didn’t want me in Sacramento,” said Artest, who didn’t play against Golden State because of a sprained left thumb. “I was like, ‘Wow, what about the other games, when the teams were doubling and I was passing out of the double teams and we won the games?’ But it’s all right. I don’t worry about it too much.”
He doesn’t worry about it too much, but he’s researching the latest tone on the Internet? Come on, Ron, pull a Gilbert and embrace the medium, hell, even a blog from Artest would be highly amusing. Considering his past and the way he’s perceived, it might even help humanize him a bit more in the eyes of fans. The problem is, you’ve now given detractors a way to influence you getting out of town, if you’re actually reading this stuff.
I’m imagining tons of non-Artest lovers desperately searching for those boards in order to raise enough ruckus to get him to leave. Plus, as Brooks is wont to remind us, it’s a change for Artest to seek the input; he’s not been very fan-friendly in the past.