A Player's Diary with Ron Artest, Playoff Edition

by Jeff Tzucker
by Conrad Brunner

April 19, 2002

By Ron Artest

The playoffs are here, and I'm ready to play, ready to go out there and try to lead us to victory. We're capable of beating New Jersey if we play with the mind-frame that we're going to execute on offense and defense. We've got a good team and we can make some big things happen. This being my first time in th playoffs, I'm very excited. I can't wait to go out there, stay under control, stay focused and do the right things to help the team win.

There's a chance I'll be matched up against Kenyon Martin, who like me is an intense, aggressive player, but I think he's a little bit angrier. I play hard and I try to play smart. It's going to be a war, especially when you've got two guys like us. We're liable to come out with two broken necks.

I've been involved in a few incidents during games that have attracted some attention, like kicking the ball and slamming a water bottle, stuff like that. Sometimes, if I'm not playing well or somebody made a play where I feel like they out-muscled me or out-hustled me, I get mad. It makes me want to play harder and play smarter. I've got a good feel for the game when I'm out there on the court and I'm not going to do anything to hurt the team.

I've got a different DNA from everybody else. Everybody doesn't take basketball as serious as I take it. Every game to me is like a championship game, and a playoff game is going to be like a war. And the championship game? Then it's all over, the world is coming to an end - so play hard.

I'm not losing my cool, not in the playoffs. I don't want to tick anybody off because I don't like anybody to tick me off because then punches are thrown and that's not good. My main thing is to try and get as many stops as possible, execute, and try to put everything into winning.

The team has led me to believe they really do need me. I'm just in my second year in the league and I'm trying to follow guys like Reggie (Miller) and J.O. (Jermaine O'Neal). They really depend on me to get stops and I appreciate it, and I'm going to try to step up to the challenge for my teammates.