Ron Artest Interview
Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest is finally back in the NBA after his massive suspension that cut his 2004-05 season drastically short. The second day of preseason featured Indiana in New Jersey to face the Nets. It was Artest's first game since the famous brawl in Detroit. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and several other reporters met with Artest before the game for an interview. InsideHoops.com is the only place you'll read the entire transcript.
Question: Are you fitting back in with the team the way you expected, with no new issues or anything?
Ron Artest: I think everything is pretty much back to normal. My game's feeling good. Back in that rhythm. Everything's pretty much back to normal.
Question: What does tonight mean to you? Just a preseason game but your first game back. And some fans might open their mouths a bit in a negative way.
Ron Artest: That's cool. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to being bashed and cursed out, everything. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Question: Is it annoying coming to come to arenas for the first time at the start of each year and get asked the same questions over and over?
Ron Artest: It's cool. Because I get to promote my album. Ain't nothing better than that. Jay-Z, he pays millions of dollars for promotion. I'm getting it for free.
Question: True Warrior? (Spelled Tru Warier)
Ron Artest: That's the name of the label.
Question: You're CEO?
Ron Artest: Yeah. Distribution through Warner Brothers.
Question: Alright, we'll plug you.
Ron Artest: Last year I got ya'll, though. I got everybody in the United States last year. And I tricked, ya'll. Ya'll thought I was going to retire.
Question: What have you added to your game since we last saw you, anything in particular?
Ron Artest: More experience. My J is a bit more wet when I shoot it. It's just so nice and pure... Automatic... I just got better. I've just been working out so hard. I think I seen something last year with my team, that I have confidence in my team. That we can win. They played great without me. So I'm ready to come back and fit in.
Question: Have lots of friends and family here?
Ron Artest: I really wasn't going to tell nobody to come. But then I got some free tickets, so I just started calling everybody.
Question: How many free tickets did you get?
Ron Artest: Thirteen.
Question: Going to use all of them, huh?
Ron Artest: Going to use every bit of them. Free tickets, stolen from the New Jersey Nets.
Question: You were saying this morning you're going to be the same play you've always been. The same edgy guy, playing with passion. Is there any way that something like what happened in Detroit will happen again?
Ron Artest: Naw. I'm going to still be playing hard and out of control, just wild like an animal that need to be caged in, and I'll let the referees handle it.
Question: But what happened in Detroit, that's not going to happen again.
Ron Artest: No, I don't think anybody's going to throw anything at me from the stands. And I don't see me reacting how I reacted.
Question: You added weight, right?
Ron Artest: Yeah, I added about ten pounds. It was fat going into training camp, and then I got it down into muscle.
Question: So what do you weigh now?
Ron Artest: 260.
Question: And what should you weigh?
Ron Artest: I wish I was 280.
Question: You'd rather be 280?
Ron Artest: Yeah. Somebody gotta stop Shaq.
Question: Are you really 260?
Ron Artest: Yeah.
Question: Where'd you put it?
Ron Artest: Everywhere. I stretched it out.
Question: Is that going to affect you on ball?
Ron Artest: Uh-uh. It's going to be great. I can still play defense. And I play with my head anyway. I was never quicker than the guys I've been guarding. And I don't dunk on people like that. I just know how to stop my opponent.
Question: Yeah but you were the best at one main thing, pressuring the ball. How do you still do it at 260?
Ron Artest: I was 255 when I was doing it.
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