Tuesday, July 20, 2010


POSTERIZE: From Wikipedia: North American slang [1] derived from an action in the game of basketball, in which the offensive player "dunks" (see slam dunk) over a defending player in a play that is spectacular and athletic enough to warrant reproduction in a printed poster.

After the Lakers championship win over (my beloved) Celtics this year, Ron Artest did a very curious thing in his post-game interview.

He thanked his psychiatrist. Twice.

Artest thanked "everybody in my hood," "my doctor" and "my psychiatrist."

"Thank you so much," he said to the ABC reporter. "There's so much commotion going in the playoffs. She helped me relax."

Do we have a new Poster Boy for Mental Health?

Now, Artest is no shrinking violet. He's no New Age Bill Walton type, nor some sensitive European Dirk Nowitzki. (Although I could picture the latter going on about his psychoanalysis on a very long couch: "Ich habe eine neue Weltanschauung") No, Artest is about as Mean Streets as it comes. He was once called, by ESPN, "The Scariest Man in Basketball." He was suspended, and darn near kicked out of the NBA, for taking a fight right into the stands during a game in Detroit.

Sure, he was forced to undergo anger management, and (according to the same ESPN report) he has been in therapy since childhood. But to mention it on a post-game interview on one of the biggest nights of his professional career was fascinating.

The blogosphere in the shrink world has tried  to make hay of this interview. The gamut runs from giving kudos to his therapist and psychiatrist, to hoping that the stigma of mental illness may be lessened by his "coming out." Some in the sports world are not a as kind, and harassed him and his "craziness," yet most were at least pleased with the bit of honest fresh air.

Poster Boy? I'm still not sure. (He did also plug his new music single in the interview.)  But it seems that Ron is at least benefiting from some of what we call in the shrink biz as "insight:"  To quote Ron: "When I'm upset, it's not good. I'm not really thinking about the game. I feel like I've failed."