Ronald William Artest, Jr. (born November 13, 1979) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Born and raised in the Queensbridge Projects in Long Island City, New York, he is one of the more controversial American basketball players in the game today.
Ron Artest sat backstage with his entourage, wondering if the audience would approve of his upcoming performance.
He was prepared for extra scrutiny after being tarnished by his unpredictable, sometimes out-of-control behavior over the past few years in the league. And the forward for the Sacramento Kings knows many already have stereotyped him as another athlete-turned-rapper such as Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant, who didn't excel in the music industry.
Artest is striving to gain more respect in hip-hop and give many a better understanding of himself on his new album, "My World," which will be released Oct. 31. The 26-year-old raps about his personal experiences, world issues and partying in clubs, while also expressing his thoughts about participating in one of the worst brawls in U.S. sports history.
In 2004, Artest charged into the stands toward a Detroit Pistons fan, claiming he was hit in the face with a cup of ice, and exchanged punches with other fans in Auburn Hills, Mich. Artest was suspended for 73 regular-season games and the playoffs.
Character issues have hurt Artest's image around the league, but his image might not be a drawback in the music industry. Growing up in a broken home and dealing drugs at a young age in New York City's Queensbridge section, a neighborhood where drugs and gun violence are common, might help him gain acceptance in the studio.
His recent tours might help. This year, he performed during the popular Hot 97 Summer Jam festival in New York, opened for rapper Fat Joe on a European tour and was the beginning act for platinum-plus-selling artists Ludacris and Young Jeezy.
While Artest is trying to find his way as a rapper, others have given him support. DJ Drama said the athlete-turned-rapper deserves a chance. He expects Artest to receive some negative feedback, but pointed out NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal had a short but successful tenure as an artist in spite of negative reviews. Even though DJ Drama has not heard a single track from Artest, the disc jockey said he should still get a chance.