Ron Artest Made His Pitch to Kobe Bryant ... in the Shower ... after the 2008 NBA Finals

I don't think any of us even blinks nowadays when Ron Artest does or says something out of the ordinary. Some people march to the beat of their own drummer; Artest hovers above a grudge match between 52 drunken drum lines. ↵
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↵At least that's how I felt before reading this Sports Radio Interviews transcription of a recent chat with Phil Jackson: ↵
↵⇥"Last year after the devastating loss in game 6 to the Boston Celtics, Ron Artest came in our locker and walked in the shower with Kobe Bryant. Kobe's there taking a shower - and this is a locker room the coaches have, it's off limits - so, Ron said, 'Coach, I can help your team, I can get that championship for the Lakers.' I said, 'Well, thanks Ron, that's very nice, I appreciate your sympathies. We'll see what happens as you go through this year.' Then, he walked out of that coaches' area, and in to the shower and told Kobe the same thing. Kobe's been knowing Ron's intentions for the last two years ... He didn't soap down Kobe and he didn't towel him off, I'm not saying that.” ↵
↵Once you stop giggling, think this one through.
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↵First off, it's total entrapment on Artest's part. Had Jackson taken the conversation any further, it would've been tampering. For the record, I don't feel that hanging out in the shower with Kobe is so intimate as to constitute some breach of the Rockets' trust -- or that players don't talk like this to each other all the time. What's weird is that Artest walked into the shower fully-clothed; shades of the time Arenas doused himself, uni on, during halftime of a poor shooting effort. Had Ron Ron undressed, at least he wouldn't have seemed like such an interloper. ↵
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↵And that's what really gets me. The Lakers have just been denied a championship in truly embarrassing fashion. You know morale is in the toilet, and Kobe's probably simmering -- even though this was the season he learned to trust his teammate. And all of a sudden, Artest wanders in to say "Hey, I'm here and can help." Only a year after he went to Houston, supposedly to put them over the top. At least going pants-less would've been some acknowledgment of context.
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↵For more NBA coverage, visit SportingNews.com's new NBA blog, The Baseline.
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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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