Lakers fine Artest for being tardy
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A day after being the hero in the Lakers' 103-101 Game 5 Western Conference finals victory over the Phoenix Suns, Ron Artest was asked what it felt like to go from the outhouse to the penthouse.
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"I don't mind being in the outhouse. I don't mind being the goat. I don't mind being the villain [or] hated," Artest said. "I've been that my whole career, so it's not like it's anything new. I don't mind people jumping on the bandwagon or jumping off, I just focus on playing the game."
That's good, because Artest is already back in the doghouse, sort of, after showing up a half-hour late to practice Friday and being fined an undisclosed amount by the team.
"Usually I have no issues with him being on time but it was just one of those nights, I think he was just so excited after the game that all that processing and things that were on the board there didn't all register," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
Artest said he was so amped after the game that he went to a local sports club to work out for an hour late Thursday night, working on his legs and abs.
"Ron has a penchant for little things tripping him up in the process; incorrectly reading the board as to practice time today and not being on time to practice by a half an hour," Jackson said. "Those type of things are the things that continually follow him so he is kind of dogged by his own nature."
Artest was fined an undisclosed amount by the Lakers for showing up late to practice on May 7 after he failed to tell team officials he was at a funeral.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.