Ron Artest: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers Take Good With Bad From Ron-Ron

Captain Obvious just arrived in Los Angeles and he has two big announcements for me to pass on.

First, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers have been inconsistent, at best, through 29 games this season.

Secondly, the Purple and Gold are due to welcome LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and the new-look Miami Heat to the Staples Center on Christmas Day for a much-hyped match-up.

Cue the latest ESPN advertisement for the game.


Lakers' Struggles Sideline Concerns About Artest

Back in Lakerland, the residual panic from a 98-79 drubbing at home to the mighty Milwaukee Bucks, sans Brandon Jennings and Corey Maggette, has nearly subsided.

Just in time for Phil Jackson to gripe to the media about another holiday headache for a Lakers team that's played in three straight NBA Finals and 12 straight Christmas Day games.

Lost somewhere in the shuffle, as he has been seemingly all season, is Ron Artest.

I know what you're thinking—how can a guy as visible as Artest—who once went on Jimmy Kimmel Live in his underwear, who drew a fine recently for driving a Formula One-style car around LA, who has turned his struggle with mental illness into a charitable cause—get lost in anything?

If nothing else, the guy's 6'7" and 260 pounds!

Yet that is exactly what has happened to Ron-Ron with the Lakers this season, a vanishing act that is partly his own doing and partly that of the typical circus that surrounds the two-time defending NBA champs.

The Lakers were supposed to be the dominant team in the Western Conference, if not the NBA, thanks to Kobe and Pau Gasol taking the summer off, Lamar Odom leading Team USA to gold at the FIBA Worlds, and Steve Blake and Matt Barnes joining the fray in LA.

However, the burden of Andrew Bynum's absence and the typical Lakers post-championship malaise has limited the team to a mere...

About the Author