Artest: I'm a big Dennis Rodman fan
In fact, Artest, who like Rodman is a former Chicago Bulls forward, said he's a long-time Rodman fan.
"You can't compare me to a man with five rings," Artest said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "But I've never shied away from that Dennis Rodman question.
"I'm a big Dennis Rodman fan. I've been a Dennis Rodman fan since he was in the NBA, even when he was in the midst of his controversies and when he was winning championships. I've been with Dennis Rodman through bad and good. That's never going to change. Ever."
Like Rodman, Artest's hair changed in the blink of an eye. He had shaved off the golden locks on Monday, but purple dye that spelled out "defense" in three different languages remained on his scalp.
Artest said the colorful hair was more to celebrate the moment than an homage to Rodman.
"We were on ABC, so I wanted to give the people something special, and I thought that would be the coolest thing to do," he said. "I was trying to figure out what kind of design to put in my hair for that game. I was just going to put 'Lakers,' -- I like to put 'Lakers' in my hair. This time I thought why not put 'Defense'?"
Artest's hair didn't help on Sunday as the Lakers suffered their first three-game losing streak since January 2008.
Artest, who is averaging 34 minutes, 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists, critiqued his first year with the Lakers favorably.
"I think I'm doing great," he said. "I'm playing a role that people thought I wouldn't be able to play, as far as not being that main option.
"I'm happy with that. I have to master my role. I haven't played a role like this in a long time."Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin was used in this report.