ESPN: Ron Artest, the often-controversial Los Angeles Lakers forward, told a magazine interviewer he used to drink alcohol at halftime of NBA games.
– Ron Artest to The Sporting News
“I used to drink Hennessy … at halftime,” Artest said in an interview with the Sporting News, which is publishing the story in its Dec. 7 issue. “I [kept it] in my locker. I’d just walk to the liquor store and get it.”
Hennessy is a French cognac.
Artest said he drank when he played for the Chicago Bulls, where he played for his first three seasons (1999-2002). He has since played for Indiana, Sacramento, Houston and the Lakers.
He was a member of the Pacers when he was involved in a fight in Detroit that spilled over into the stands. He was suspended for the rest of the 2004-05 season, which turned out to be 73 games. Artest told the Sporting News that the brawl “wasn’t my fault. … I don’t see anything I could have done different.”
Artest told the Sporting News that he has tamed his admittedly wild lifestyle, but still likes to “party and I have fun.”
“When I was a 19-year-old father, whew. I was a single pimp! I was wild,” he told the magazine. “A lot of marijuana and alcohol — even before [that age]. … I [still] party and I have fun, but not like I used to. I used to drink every night and party every night.”
He also criticized NBA referee Joey Crawford, who was on the floor for two games of the 2009 NBA Western Conference semifinals. In Game 2, Artest was ejected after an altercation with Kobe Bryant. In Game 7, Crawford also officiated, and the Lakers won 89-70 to close out the series.
“Joey Crawford basically said, ‘Who cares about the Houston Rockets? Kobe Bryant is on the floor,’ ” Artest said, according to the Sporting News.