Indiana Pacer Ron Artest is fresh off his suspension for going up in the stands and trading punches with fans in November 2004. Allowed to compete in the NBA again, the Queensbridge, New York, native is ready to fight.
Now hold up one second, NBA Commissioner David Stern — save your fines and suspensions. Ron Ron (his nickname from the 'Bridge) is starring in his own as-yet-untitled video game where he gets to take his court frustrations out in the squared circle.
"It's boxing and basketball; it's crazy," Artest explained recently in New York. "If you wanna get into a little scuffle, but you can't fight 'cause you might get suspended, you go to the boxing ring. And it's not any NBA players, its 'hood legends. The 'hood be fighting with each other. After you knock somebody, you go back and play."
Artest, who is currently training for his next season with the Indiana Pacers, didn't have a release date for his game yet, but he said early 2006 is when he's going to show the world what he's been doing with his salary besides paying fines and donating money to kids. He's funded his own album, New York, on his own label, Tru Warier Records.
"It comes out January 31. It's predicted to sell at least five million records worldwide," he joked.
While he probably has a better chance of dethroning Shaquille O'Neal as beast of the Eastern Conference than of selling more records than the Diesel, Artest has a whole team of all-stars in the studio with him.
"Mike Jones is on the record, Big Pokey from Houston, 112, Nas, Havoc," he said, giving the album's roll call. "Prodigy, Nature. The album is crazy. It's called New York cause I'm just reppin', keeping it simple. The first single is the one with Mike Jones called 'Get Low.' It's a 'hood 'Rocky' type joint. It's gonna get you amped up, get you ready to throw a couple of punches. I got another called 'Oh Yeah.' I got tracks for the ladies, for old people. I got tracks for [Latino] people. And you know I got tracks for the 'hood.
"It's crazy," Artest continued. "I got records people not gonna like. It's controversial. Some people don't like me when I rap. They say I shouldn't rap, but I'm gonna spit some bars. My songs is gonna be crazy and blend in right with the industry, and they not gonna like that."
Ron says although he's going to be keeping it "get-toe" on his LP, the record is clean and definitely won't cause the backlash Allen Iverson did a few years ago when he was going to release a rap record (see "Misunderstood Allen Iverson Skips Hip-Hop For Hoops").
"Nothing like A.I's music," he insisted. "But A.I. is my man. I love him to death."
Artest and the Pacers open their season on November 2 against the Orlando Magic.