Ron Artest's smooth transition to Houston didn't quite last a day as Ronnie and Yao Ming swapped comments in the media before hugging it out on the phone. Ronnie's initial response to Yao was classic Ronnie, taking us round and round with words caught somewhere between sincerity and nonsense. Of course, his verbal self-defense included downplaying the Palace Brawl.
ESPN's Chris Broussard was on 1070 The Fan on Thursday with Eddie White and Bob Kravitz and naturally the conversation turned to Ronnie at one point. Broussard killed me with one of his comments. Here's the exchange which started with Eddie reading part of Ronnie's comments.
Eddie (quoting Artest): ... If you go back to the brawl, that's a culture issue right there. Somebody was disrespecting me, so he's gotta understand where I'm coming from.
Kravitz: That was a stupid issue, not a Black issue.
Broussard: Yeah, I thought Ben Wallace was disrespecting him too and he didn't decide to go after Ben. Now, don't tell Ron I said that, you know.
Hilarious. Life is so much better when Ronnie is in the mix shaking things up, isn't it? I still love the guy but it's far more enjoyable following his exploits without his name on the Pacers' roster. Also, I have to say, the talk of the brawl and the excuse for ESPN to play clips of the melee haven't bothered me a bit. Maybe it's all the new guys or the offseason tone being set by the folks at the Fieldhouse, but it hasn't come close to raising my blood pressure as in the past. Maybe I'm finally over it.