I can't wait to see what he does next. Because this, was hardly the last episode.
Just call it #14.
The NBA has basically given up as a league. Given up on being anything other than the crass commercial oligarchy that it is.
The commish is making huge money. The star players (and even the scrubs) are making huge money. The handful of big market teams are making huge money.
Why rock the boat by doing the right thing?
David Stern has shown the last few years that his only mission is to avoid the "big controversy." And the easiest way to do that, is to basically ignore everything. If you give Artest a year long ban, or even a lifetime ban -which would be defensible, given Artest's violent history - then it becomes a "Today Show" level big story.
A seven game sit-down, stays firmly in the world of SportsCenter and sports talk radio.
If Stern's discipline says it's "no big deal" then the media tends to treat it that way. Some writers were even saying Stern did the right thing by giving Artest credit for TRYING to change his ways the last few years.
The coddling and excuse making on this guy's behalf almost makes you wonder where the hell the moral compass is these days in sports.
Had Artest gone and punched Harden in the head with a directed fist, this would certainly be a much longer suspension. But because Ron had the 3rd grade level sneakyness of using his elbow for the "punch" it actually worked to fool those who should say "enough is enough."
Stern, Mike Brown, Kobe... and on down the line. Fooled, fooled, fooled...
Brown even said - if you can believe it - ""What am I supposed to do, call him a liar?" Brown asked. "He said it was accidental. Now was it accidental or not? I don't know."
Spoken like a coach who's claim to fame is coddling LeBron and matching his eyewear to his suits.
Bill Plaschke of the LA Times is right in tune with me on this one....
By the time Harden wandered into World Peace's space, the celebration was finished. And if World Peace didn't know Harden was there, why did he purposely cock his elbow before he hit him? Since when is an aimed, cocked and thrusted elbow an accident?
If this were about only an elbow, a seven-game suspension would have been warranted. But this was clearly a punch, with one of the sharpest parts of the body, landing on the most vulnerable part of another body.
This was about a celebration that turned caustic when somebody walked into the middle of it, the weird mind of World Peace switching from jubilation to rage in a matter of seconds. Maybe even scarier than the elbow was the look in his wild and crazy eyes as he stalked around the floor immediately afterward.
This was not something that can be disciplined in seven games, not with Artest's history, not with Harden's injury. This was something that probably should have required twice that many games, forcing World Peace to miss the first two rounds of the playoffs and essentially ending his chance at making further valuable contributions this season.
The Lakers got lucky, and I'm guessing the Lakers know it.I can only hope this comes back to bit the Lakers, and especially Stern, in the ass. The most embarassing, litigation resulting way.