From Queensbridge with Love: How Artest’s Past Foreshadowed a Laker Win

Ron Artest is just a simple boy from the Queensbridge projects in Queens, N.Y. with a dream of redemption. 

Growing up, Artest's family didn't have two pennies to rub together. Therefore, he didn't dress in the finest clothes, rock the freshest J's, or play the newest video games—things American youth (myself included) take for granted.

Growing up, Artest had just two constants in his life: a basketball and a street basketball court in his Queensbridge neighborhood.

Artest learned most everything that he knows about the game on that court. And he learned it the hard way—the Queensbridge way.

Playing against men two, three, and sometimes four times his age, Artest learned the "no blood, no foul" rule on multiple occasions. He learned that basketball, despite the grace and beauty depicted in the NBA, was a contact sport—a sport played by men who will get up no matter how hard they're fouled, shake the fouler's hand, and check-up the basketball.

However, not all basketball played during Artest's adolescent years was tough-friendly competition—Artest once witnessed a murder during a YMCA-league basketball game.

In other words, Artest lived through what could be the exact script of a horrible Disney movie in which a team's beloved player is slain on the court and the team (shockingly) rallies to win the tournament title in honor of their friend.

In case you didn't know, Artest's character would be the "wrong side of the tracks" bad boy who leaves the team after a heated argument with the coach—probably Gene Hackman—only to ask to be put back on the team after his friend's death. Of course, Artest's character would be allowed to rejoin the team, but only after a "team vote" divided by color lines with one rogue white player being Ron's deciding vote.

Sadly, Artest wasn't playing a character in a horrible Disney movie....

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