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NBA Playoffs: Ron Artest Remains Poised After Lakers’ Game 1 Collapse Against Mavericks

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Who would have ever imagined it? Ron Artest — your NBA Citizenship Award winner for his tireless efforts campaigning and advocating for mental health issues. As you’ll hear, The mercurial Lakers forward is extremely proud of the award. In fact, it’s something he’s been thinking about for years. But at the present time,  his Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a challenging quest to three-peat as NBA champions. The Lakers lost Game 1 of the Western Conference semis after uncharacteristically letting a 16 point lead slip away at home against Dallas. Of course, LA looked shaky in the opening game against the Hornets as well, only to right the ship and dismiss the Hornets fairly easily after that. Will they do the same in this round?

Mavericks team that hasn’t stood in the way of their title aspirations during LA’s recent dynastic run this past 10-plus years?

Artest joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about the Lakers’ Game 1 loss to the Mavericks, how it doesn’t matter if the Lakers have been inconsistent so far in this year’s playoffs provided they stick together for the challenges still ahead, Phil Jackson not in any way acting out of character after the meltdown in Game 1, whether or not the Mavs deserve to still be labeled a soft team, winning the NBA’s Citizenship Award this year, would he have ever thought he’d win that type of award earlier in his career and specifically in the immediate aftermath of his infamous brawl at the Palace in Auburn Hills seven years ago, how he still sees the same therapist that he mentioned in a speech after last year’s Finals, the Kings staying in Sacramento, and how he no longer parties like he did earlier in his career due to the realization awhile back the everything is ‘measured by inches’ in the highly competitive NBA.

If there was anything that surprised him about the Lakers Game 1 loss to the Mavericks:

“Nothing really surprises you with the playoffs, you know? The playoffs have been full of surprises for years. They’ve been full of surprises and unexpected situations for years, so same old, same old.”

On just how inconsistent the Lakers have been so far in this year’s playoffs:

“Well in the playoffs — whether you’re playing well or inconsistent — the only thing that matters is the next thing, the end result. So it’s not really something that’s never happened in the history of the playoffs. So, just keep moving forward.”

On Phil Jackson’s reaction to his team following the loss:

“Phil’s always pretty much the same. Obviously he was pretty disappointed, but he’s pretty much always the same, the same way you see him on the bench, always relaxed.”

If the label of being soft still applies to the Mavericks:

“Man, it’s hard to say. They played great, you know? I don’t know what people think is soft anymore. Some people play really, really smart and they call that soft. But some people got a really high skill level but maybe they’re not as physical as people want them to be. But I don’t know if that’s soft or not.”

On what the knock on the Mavericks is if they’re not as soft as some might think:

“This year they’re a very veteran squad. In the past, maybe just run-and-gun and soft, but this year I think they’re veterans. I’m not sure they’re totally soft though.”

When does he receive his Citizenship Award:

“I got it already at the game; it was Game 5. I was really happy about that. It was the first time I had an award like that. It was something I always wanted; it was something I thought I should probably be nominated for, but under certain circumstances it just wasn’t passable. But it was perfect timing.”

On what he would have said seven years ago that he would eventually win the Citizenship Award for the NBA:

“Well seven years ago it was something that I always wanted. I don’t know it would have been true, but it was something I always wanted. I spoke to a couple of people about it — I think spoke to several referees about it, because I don’t get many technical fouls — so I was like ‘I don’t know who gets the votes or who votes’,  but I was like ‘maybe you could put in a good word for me or something.’ But it was something that I always wanted.”

Could he have imagined right after the brawl in Detroit seven years ago that he would have won this award:

“Well at that time my mind was real clouded; it was foggy and I really couldn’t see much, my mind was too clouded.”

If he still sees the therapist that he thanked during last year’s NBA Finals:

“Yeah, she’s really good at what she does and helps me out a lot. So I still speak to her a lot on different occasions and stuff like that.”

Having played in Sacramento earlier in his career, did he care whether the Kings relocated to Orange County:

“I played in Sac so I already know how loyal the fans are, and I already know how difficult of a place it is to play. If they were to go to Orange County, I really don’t have a thought on it because I know the fans in Sacramento want it, and I know the fans in Orange County also want a team. So I guess both teams deserve a team. There’s a lot of great cities…even like Seattle who doesn’t have a team anymore; supposedly like Jersey. So…”

On what the latest he’s ever stayed out until before a game:

“Oh man, sheesh. Rookie year maybe? I used to go out a lot. Sometimes I would stay out late as a young-minded fella.”

If he ever thought he was throwing away his career from partying, and if so, at what point:

“I never realized I was throwing away my career from partying. I did think I was not reaching my potential. I did realized I was not reaching my potential. But I actually started partying in college. I was the 16th pick and everything measured in inches — whether you get a job or you don’t; whether you make the shot or you don’t; whether you get a stop on defense or you don’t. And once I started to realize that everything was being measured in inches, I had to take pride and take nothing for granted. And even last year…I didn’t drink alcoholic beverages after January — no wine, no nothing. It came down to the last minute in Game 7 — it was measured by inches.”

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