Since this is my first e-mail to NUVO in any fashion, I want to say NUVO and your column are both great. Now, I must respectfully disagree with your opinion about Artest (Hammer, “Artest Must Stay,” Dec. 14-21).

Nowadays many sports fans are slighting the NBA because of “boring” games and “lazy” players. Certainly, Artest does not fall into either of the “boring” or “lazy” categories, but neither does the Pacers oraganization. But, but, but, this season Pacers basketball seems a little lackluster, a little hesitant or stiff, and a little watered down compared to their tooth and nail exit from the 2005 playoffs.

More off the point is that I also wanted to ransack Ohio last year after the “re-election” of G.W.B.

Don’t you remember last season? How inspiring Pacers basketball was without Artest. In fact, I consider James Jones a casualty of Artest’s “potential.” James Jones! A very good ball player who is smart, hardworking, has a great three shot, loved by the fans and unsigned by Pacers. What the hell were Walsh and Bird thinking!? They were thinking about how great Artest is. A team full of Artests would win a championship? Bullshit. There is so much talent besides Artest, why waste time (and money is hardly an issue with Artest) on this guy. And there are not players as good as J.O. just floating around.

I guess I am just a serious Pacers fan and that’s why I am e-mailing, but it is obvious to me Artest is no team player. Are you even a Pacers fan? Don’t you think Artest’s prima donna spell cast over Carlisle, Bird and Walsh has plagued the Pacers long enough?

The J. Jones sacrifice was enough for me to hold a grudge against Artest, but I am so much the happier knowing the Pacers can actually play like a team again. Well, if you are a Pacers fan and are truly disenchanted by Artest’s exit then let me say this: It is a blessing in disguise.

Ryan Houdek

Indianapolis

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