TNT went flufftastic on the Lakers F Thursday night, and following clips of Artest hanging out in a recording studio, the TMZ offices and explaining his haircut, Charles Barkley suggested that perhaps the Aubernica brawler would be better served concentrating on hoops. Hours later, Artest took the fight to (where else) Twitter, as the Riverside Press-Enterprise’s Jeff Eisenberg recounts.

“He tried to turn the whole story around,” Artest said. “TNT was trying to make me look good, but Charles was trying to make me look bad. They were pointing out a lot of good things I was doing, and Charles totally took my spotlight. He could have picked another time to do that.”

An incensed Artest spoke directly to his fans via twitter on Friday, noting that he’s one of the last players to leave the practice court every day, that he doesn’t shoot commercials during the playoffs like other guys and that he nearly led the shorthanded Rockets to the NBA Finals last year.

He also referenced Barkley’s DUI arrest from last year, adding “What’s worse; rapping or driving drunk?”

Asked whether he thought it might have been more prudent to let Barkley’s latest comments pass without response, Artest said, “I think it’s important for me to speak because he took my shine away.”

I realize nobody asked me, but in some instances, rapping IS worse than driving drunk.  Depending on how you feel about auto-tune.