It’s about that time again, when fans and celebrities come to watch and take part in the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities. For the second time, Los Angeles — home of both the Lakers and Clippers — is hosting the 60th Annual All-Star event.
Ron Artest, current Lakers’ forward, is no stranger to the NBA All-Star weekend — he was named an All-Star in 2004. Though he may not be participating in the featured events this year, don’t count him out just yet… he has a few surprises in store.
Ballerstatus spoke to Artest this week, as he shared his plans this weekend, gave us some hostess advice, and made some early predictions.
BallerStatus.com: All-Star Weekend is back in Los Angeles. How excited are you having it in your city?
Ron Artest: It’s just great to have it in your city… just go out there and have a lot of fun. That’s the main thing.
BallerStatus.com: We know you will be taking part in some of the festivities that will be going on and that’s because you have a mixtape and shoe, entitled Ball’n dropping this weekend. Let’s talk about the mixtape first — Nas, Gucci Mane, and Bun B, and other artists make appearances on Ball’n. How did that come about?
Ron Artest: I’ve been speaking to a lot of these guys for a lot of years. When I first got in the music industry, people were kind of saying they don’t know if basketball players are serious, and that was a bit disturbing. The biggest thing I did was the “Champion” song and then a lot of people were saying “Yo, that’s a dope song”. Nas told me he liked it and then The Game called my cell phone and was like “Yo Ron, that’s a dope song. I didn’t know you could deliver and had swag like that.” I was totally shocked. I think a lot of people heard “Champion” — it gives us a chance to do records with real artists and be a part of the industry.
I did a couple things with Fat Joe — you got to build a lot of friends in the industry ’cause when you first get in it, there’s a lot of sharks, mainly the people that’s doing the business. In the music industry, you don’t need a college degree, you don’t know who the sharks are. I’ve been taken to deep waters and I’ve learned a lot in the music business, so I’m actually pretty good at the business now and becoming a better artist.
BallerStatus.com: You leaked a few tracks on Facebook and Twitter. Have you had a chance to look at some of the comments?
Ron Artest: “Champion”, I got great comments. That was a long time ago. We dropped “Who Are You”, featuring Nas and Xin Xin. I got great comments on that. We dropped “Peanut Butta” — it’s a dope track. I haven’t heard anything about it yet.
BallerStatus.com: Now I know you’re not talking about actual peanut butter, why that title?
BallerStatus.com: “Peanut Butta” is basically money. Sometimes it’s like having so much money, so thick, if you put it in your hands you can’t get rid of it because the money never goes … it’s always there. Basically it means a lot of money. (laughs)
BallerStatus.com: What’s your favorite track and why?
Ron Artest: “We Will Rock You”. There’s a lot of energy. We played that song when I won my actual championship. A lot of people like “Get Money”; people said that’s one of the best songs on the mixtape. “Peanut Butta,” I think has the most swag, but my favorite is “We Will Rock You.”
BallerStatus.com: Let’s talk about your shoe. You posted three pictures on your Facebook page, two of which are Laker-inspired colors. Tell us more…
Ron Artest: Ball’n is my company — me, Rodney, and another company called Mercury. Three owners. The shoe is not that expensive and it has something called D3o in it, when you have impact it absorbs more impact — D30’s in Lamborghini’s. And actually no shoe has it, so my shoe is like a Lamborghini for $50.
BallerStatus.com: Now it’s only right I would come to you for some advice, seeing we are in your city. What are some of the hot spots people can go to during their time in L.A.?
Ron Artest: If you want to go to a real hardcore spot, you might want to go downtown and If you want to eat go to Kitchen 24.
BallerStatus.com: Getting back to the NBA, which event are you most looking forward to?
Ron Artest: I’m looking forward to the Dunk Contest. All my kids are going. That’s the only event I will be attending.
BallerStatus.com: Any early predictions?
Ron Artest: I think Blake Griffin is going to win, easy.
BallerStatus.com: How about the other contests? Foot Locker’s 3-Point Contest: we have Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Durant, James Jones, Daniel Gibson or Dorell Wright?
Ron Artest: Pierce, Allen and Durant? Umm… I’m going with Ray Allen.
BallerStatus.com: Finally. The NBA All-Star Game: East or West?
Ron Artest: West, all day.