Want To Talk With Ron Artest? Pick Up The Phone

Whether you love it or hate it, 2009 is going to go down in history as the year social media busted out into the mainstream. It’s taken everyone by storm, but for pro athletes especially it’s a way to “keep it real” with fans in real time while still keeping them at a safe distance. Shaq may have started the craze, but it’s been people like Stephon Marbury and Ron Artest that have taken social media to new extremes.

Ron Artest iPhone China

And while Starbury has used it mostly to show the world how insane he is, Artest has embraced the opportunity to show his less-punchy side to the world. Just last week he was setting the story straight regarding his role in The Brawl, but he was only getting warmed up. Not content to interact with his fans a mere 140 characters at a time, Artest spent his latest video blogs talking directly to his fans, via telephone, from China, after he Tweeted out his actual cellphone number. Your move, Shaq.

(Video and more after the jump.)

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China’s New Basketball Role Model is Ron Artest?

When David Aldridge suggested a few days ago that Yao Ming feels like the Tracy McGrady Traveling Convalescence Show has an open-ended engagement that will sink his chance at an NBA title, he didn’t mention who might replace Tracy in Yao’s five.  (There’s plenty of room since Chuck got removed at the network level, of course.)

Considering how hard Yao Ming’s been pushing his old China Basketball Association to toughen up so the Summer Olympics’ butt-whoopin’ won’t hurt so much on their tender and underskilled bottoms, perhaps Yao’s new teammate, Ron Artest, is up to the task of the 3 am phone call.  (After all, that would be 5 pm in Shanghai.)

Yao Ming Ron Artest

We suggest Ron-Ron because fans and players haven’t adjusted to the new rougher play in China and fines have come down hard on both for “violence on and off the court”.  When we reported on Chinese cheerleaders in the CBA in March, we noted subdued crowds.  Guess that’s taken care of, too.  We’d suggest sending China T-shirt guns to complete the NBA starter kit, but we’re guessing restrictions on objects with military applications will squelch that deal.

Actually, the CBA has the final piece it needs to start their own Li’l NBA: a bona-fide NBA star who is tearing up the league at a 32-and-9 pace this season.  You’ll never guess who…

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