Roughly 10 minutes after Ron Artest went upside James Harden’s head with a wicked elbow, the ABC studio crew jumped right into analyzing the attack during the broadcast’s halftime show. Two former NBA players, one of them Hall of Famer and former Lakers great Magic Johnson, delivered the strongest statements in speaking out against the vicious play that knocked Harden out of the game and perhaps the remainder of the regular season. Magic immediately said he believed Artest’s act was intentional and ruled it a “cheap shot.”
I’m sitting here as a former Laker and it’s just really disheartening for me because last year (Andrew) Bynum takes out J.J. Barea. And now this. It was definitely intentional. You don’t go up to a man’s head without it being intentional. And I love Metta World Peace. He’s got to get suspended, not only the Sacramento game, but he’s probably going to get suspended the first game of the playoffs. And this is not how the Lakers should be playing. Look, I like physical basketball but I don’t like cheap shots. And that was a cheap shot.”
Jon Barry, a 14-year NBA player, also considered it intentional and said Artest has to be suspended into the playoffs. You can hear the entire segment below as Magic, Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard discuss the play.