Ron Artest–scion of the Queensbridge Houses and one of the greatest ballplayers ever to come out of the city — has been suspended for clothes lining Dallas Maverick guard J.J. Barea, just a week after he was named NBA Citizen of the Year.
On April 26, Artest, a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Artest was selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association for “tireless efforts” to promoted awareness of mental health in schools, and auctioning off his 2010 championship ring and raising $650,000 for the effort.
The award was seen as vindication for Artest, who lost his temper during a Detroit Piston game in 2004 and waded into the stands to fight a fan. He was suspended for 86 games.
And then, during a loss Wednesday to the Dallas Mavericks which put the Lakers into a 2-0 hole in their playoff series, Artest was ejected from swinging a forearm into Barea’s head. Here’s the ESPN video:
In Artest’s defense, he appears to be trying to double-team Barea, when he runs into Kobe Bryant, and about at that moment, his right arm catches Barea. He then pats Barea on the back as if to apologize. So, it might have been inadvertent. It might also have been frustration. But the referee immediately tossed Artest, and yesterday, the NBA suspended him for a game. He also was assessed a flagrant foul, which could lead to an additional suspension.