ASPIRING TIGHT END
The Lakers' forward, who is 6'7" and 246 pounds, is raffling off his 2010 NBA championship ring for a children's charity at ronartest.com
Dan Patrick:What size is this ring? Do I wear it around my wrist?
Ron Artest: It's a size 11, just in case somebody wins who doesn't have as big a finger as me.
DP:When's the last time you wore it out?
RA: I've never worn it. It's for the fans and for the good cause. I didn't want to spoil it, and I didn't want to get any second doubts, so I haven't worn it.
DP:What kind of money have you raised so far?
RA: Right now we're at about half a million dollars. I was hoping that we could have gotten a little more, but I would have to promote, and that's something I didn't want to do during the season.
DP:Who's more intimidating, Kobe or Phil Jackson?
RA: They both have their own special thing about them. On the floor Kobe has things that he wants done. He's like Peyton Manning, calling audibles. And then Phil, he wants you to run the triangle. They have different styles.
DP:If I said next year you could catch passes from Kobe or Peyton Manning, who would you take? Is playing in the NFL still a goal?
RA: It's definitely a goal, but not next year. Hopefully one day I'll be able to play. I feel I'm at a point in my life where it's just beginning.
DP:Which team would you want to play for?
RA: I'd play anywhere. I won't say, Hey, I want to play for a certain team or act like I'm something when I'm really nothing. Who's to say I'd make the team?
DP:I'm looking at tight end for you. Is that the position?
RA: I think that's accurate. There's a couple other positions I want to learn or explore. I've been watching a lot of football, watching a lot of tape. I think I have a legitimate shot. I don't know how realistic it is.
DP:They hit hard, Ron.
RA: I understand that. It's like a musician; if you don't make the song, then you'll never know if you can make a song or not.
DP:How old will you be when your deal with the Lakers is done in three years?
DP:Did you play football in high school?
RA: I played a little. When I was in school, we didn't have a lot of funding for football, so I stopped playing.
DP:You called in to a Houston radio station after a loss to the Rockets and impersonated Houston's Luis Scola. When did you decide to do that?
RA: I was in the locker room, and I finished my media session and was about to take a shower when one of the producers asked me to call the station. So he gave me his phone, and they said, "Hey, what's up, Luis Scola?" Immediately I turned on my antenna and said, How can I make the best out of this situation?
DP:It sounded good.
RA: I thought that was funny. I don't really have the accent. I really can't pretend like I'm Spanish or have a Latino accent. But I did the best I could.
DP:You said you were going to celebrate by having some Spanish food. At what point do you think they realized it wasn't Luis Scola?
RA: The guy who was interviewing me caught on pretty late that I have no Latino accent.
• Old School
When I asked Buccaneers rookie defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to name the slowest quarterback he's faced, he said it was Steelers backup Charlie Batch. The two go way back—sort of. "He's been in the league 17, 18, 25 years," McCoy said. (Actually, the 37-year-old Batch has been in the league for 13 years.) "I remember playing with Charlie Batch when Dreamcast first came out, when he played for Detroit and Barry Sanders was still there. He was the quarterback. I was in middle school."
Mark Wahlberg underwent rigorous training for The Fighter, which hits the big screen on Friday, Dec. 17. With him so toned for the role of real-life boxer Mickey Ward, I asked Wahlberg how he'd fare in the ring against Manny Pacquiao. He didn't rule out his chances—with a catch. "Well, I've got size on him," Wahlberg said. "Manny, I think, is by far pound for pound the best to ever do it.... But if I catch him with a sucker punch, he's out."
• Line of the week
Charles Barkley on fellow Auburn Tiger, embattled QB Cam Newton: "If he doesn't win the Heisman Trophy, that should be investigated. That will be the biggest rip-off since we stole everything from the Indians."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates on his hoop dreams.
2. Michael Strahan discusses pro football's hottest stories.
THE FINE PRINT: The Nationals signed outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million deal. They outbid the Red Sox, the Yankees and Qatar.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
MARGARET BOWLES/SOUTHCREEK GLOBAL/ZUMAPRESS.COM (MCCOY)
ANDREW H. WALKER/WIREIMAGE FOR THE GREENBRIER/GETTY IMAGES (BARKLEY)
SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE/ZUMAPRESS.COM (ARTEST)