Ron Artest: Regretful About Ending in Indiana

Ron-Ron tells CBS that to this day, he feels remorse about how things ended in Indy: “Artest recently revealed just how scarred he remains from the infamous brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004, when he was excommunicated from basketball and branded not only a villain, but also a damaged soul — a castoff not worthy or capable of rehabilitation. And it is worse than that for Artest, who said to this day he feels like a coward when in the presence of his former Pacers teammates like Reggie Miller and Jermaine O’Neal, as well as executives Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh. ‘The biggest regret of my life, really, is bailing out on that Pacer team,’ Artest said. ‘I mean, outside not going to church every single Sunday, bailing out on that Pacer team is my biggest regret. Every time I see Jermaine, every time I see Steve [Jackson] and Jamaal [Tinsley] … I get a little bit of a feeling when I see Bird, because he was such a great player and I respect him so much. So I get that feeling when I see Bird. I feel like a coward. I feel like I don’t even belong in their presence, really.’ The Pacers were coming off a 61-win season and a loss in the Eastern Conference finals when Artest’s career, and the Indiana franchise, were dealt a blow from which it seemed neither would ever recover. As much as the brawl itself, and the 73-game suspension that followed, Artest is ashamed of his behavior in the aftermath — demanding a trade and bailing on his team …  In fact, Artest said he has not once told Walsh, Bird, Miller or anyone else how he feels. ‘Never,’ Artest said. Well, now they know. ‘When I saw Jermaine [this season], I felt like I didn’t even belong in the same room as him,’ Artest said. ‘I felt like a coward. I don’t like feeling like a coward, and I feel like a coward. That’s the biggest regret of my life. Steve Jackson, Jermaine, Jamaal, even Jeff [Foster] — a blue-collar guy like him, put his life on the line for us on the court, and I totally disrespected him. And of course Reggie. I was in a position to win a championship, Reggie was in position, and I bailed out on Reggie. I feel like a coward. A big-time coward. It’s hard for me to even speak to them, hard for me to see them.”‘