Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Last Sunday afternoon, during the Los Angeles Lakers Vs Oklahoma City Thunder game, a rambunctious
Ron Artest Metta World Peace – fresh off of a trademark dunk – collided with OKC shooting guard James Harden, resulting in Harden developing a concussion. Well, actually Peace delivered a heavy blow, via elbow, to the base of Harden’s skull. After the incident (a literal one-hitter quitter), Metta was ejected (but not before squaring of with Serge Ibaka – who wanted no parts of that elbow) & Harden eventually left the game for good.
It was one of the illest moments in sports I’ve seen in awhile.
For umpteen minutes following, & the rest of the sports-related evening, the “scuffle” was the hot button topic. I watched the game with my dad, & what began as yelling at the refs & announcers eventually became an admittance that Metta Artest knew exactly what he was doing. In fact, the more they showed the replay, the more I was able to catch facial expression, muscle tension, etc. (Pause.) Ron Peace had plenty of opportunity to pull his arm back, hesitate, or even flinch after he completed an entire swipe of the arm, assuming he really didn’t see that huge beard in his peripheral. No dice, though. He hammered Harden down, relentlessly (shoutout to Queens!), & kept going as if he didn’t feel that poor guy’s head bounce off of his arm.
One thing’s for sure; Ron Artest is the craziest dude in the NBA. Perhaps Delonte West may give him a run for his psychotic money, but guns in a guitar case is totally different than having the balls to assault a man in the middle of the Lord’s Day. On ESPN on ABC.
Full disclosure: I’m proud of Ron for standing up for the team – because OKC usually smacks us around a bit – but that was unnecessary & a little too UFC-y for my liking. It makes the team look bad-a job that other people never tire of doing. Plus, it’s hard to defend the greatest sports franchise ever when one of it’s star players is having “Malice at the Palace” flashbacks.
I hope that when this unfortunate smoke clears, everyone involved will have learned something. I did.
5. Hasidic Beards Are The New NBA Tattoo
Nothing fancy here. I just wanted to share my observation.
4. “Smarts” Always Loses To “Wisdom”
A smart man sees a problem he can possibly fix. A wise man knows that all problems aren’t yours to solve. & with that said – once again – the proof is in the replay. Harden knows he’s a smart ballplayer, & in a perfect world, a good baller translates his court skill to the real world. For instance, he knows to pass when the pressure’s too intense. & while Harden is indeed a smart player, he wasn’t wise enough to move when he saw this trainwreck of emotion flailing in his direction. If nothing else, it’s close to the playoffs. Protect your neck, so to speak.
3. Don’t Judge A Man (Or Woman) By His Age
I’ve noticed that most young people are under the impression that older heads are weak, or that time somehow deactivates one’s ability to lose control, or wild out as the young people say. James Harden is 23. Metta World Peace is 32. It won’t be for another seven years until James realizes that he was a kid when he was 23. Those youthful, arrogant challenges to slightly older cats can turn into melees fast. (& I use the word melee because most cats born in the 70’s don’t fight fair.
We They melee.)
2. Reputation Is Real
There’s no valid excuse to ever walk up on
Metta World Peace Ron Artest during a basketball game. Why? Because he has admitted to having issues with his mental stability. Also, remember when he hulked out in 1994 in Auburn Palace? If you watch Sunday’s replay carefully, you can see the exact moment when a slight trajectory change would’ve easily resulted in a less dramatic outcome. (This avoidance method is true of most circumstances in life, by the way.) Harden, young & proud, probably doubted that this was the same man from 1994 (quite some years ago), & fearlessly marched forward. We see these types of stand-offs happen on the court all the time, but in this particular instance, James seems to have ignored all the “crazy Ron Artest” jokes (read: holds the record for longest game suspension) & his reputation as a hooligan. If word on the street is that someone is crazy, go on that until you have proof of the opposite.
1. Shit Talking Comes With Consequence
When the Lakers played OKC earlier in the “season,” Durant, Harden, & Westbrook engaged in 3-way shit-talking to Kobe Bryant like I hadn’t seen at all this year. It happened in both games that the Thunder won, & both times I said to my wife, “Where the fuck is Ron Artest?!” This third time was obviously the charm, because if I saw those boys popping smack from all the way over here on my couch, I know Ron Ron caught wind of it. In the second meeting – to his credit – Ron did walk over & stand diligently by Kobe Bryant. Apparently this time, though, World Peace didn’t need Kobe to be the catalyst.
Now for the record, I don’t condone this type of parking lot foolery on the court, but it’s almost time for the playoffs, am I right?