Much like the recent Ricky Williams saga, the problem here is that a nation of failed jocks-turned-sportwriters can’t believe there’s anything on earth more important than playing a game.

The other problem might be that nobody gets paid $6 million a year to hang out with their kids or start their own independent label (if I wasn’t in Ron’s corner before, you better believe I am now).

Artest’s nutcase reputation is what sunk him on this one. Well, that and asking for a sabbatical one week into the season. But there’s a difference between being the walking, talking embodiment of all that’s wrong with pro sports and merely having a loose grip on reality. There’s still no evidence Artest meant any harm, and at last check, musical side-projects failed to wreck the athletic careers of Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Trevor Pryce, Jack McDowell, Shaquille O’Neal or Denny McLain.