“Hopefully, he’s not fighting anymore and going after a guy in the stands,” said Houston’s Yao Ming of (probable) new teammate Ron Artest, to which the latter replied, “I guess once Yao Ming approves (the deal), I’ll be a Houston Rocket.” More of Artest’s rebuttal, as quoted by the Sacramento Bee’s Sam Amick :
“I understand what Yao said, but I’m still ghetto,” said Artest, who will earn $7.4 million next season and be a free agent next summer. “That’s not going to change. I’m never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don’t think he’s ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture. Once Yao Ming gets to know me, he’ll understand what I’m about.”If you go back to the brawl, that’s a culture issue right there. Somebody was disrespecting me, so he’s got to understand where I’m coming from. People that know me know that Ron Artest never changed.”
Not only did Artest seem to take exception to Yao’s brawl-related comments, he expressed a similar desire for a long-term commitment from Houston as he had with the Kings at the outset of their unofficial divorce in early July.
“We’ve still got to make sure there’s still a commitment (from the Rockets),” Artest said. “That’s the main thing, is to make sure there’s still a commitment. When I speak to the powers-that-be of the Houston Rockets’ organization, we’re going to find out how much they really want me there. We’ll find out. I’m still waiting to find out if this is just a trade or if this is like a long-term commitment-type thing. I haven’t spoken to anybody yet. I’m still waiting.”
Bob Sura and Jon Barry aren’t considered representatives of black culture?