The Sad, Troubled Times of J.R. Rider

If Ron Artest is serious about rehabilitating his image with the Sacramento Kings, then he got a boost on Thursday — Isaiah Rider is back in the news. Artest has had his problems, sure. But next to Rider, Artest is Ned Flanders.

It is with a tinge of sadness, but no surprise, that we note Rider's arrest on Thursday in Marin County, Calif., for kidnapping and battery. Bail was set at $2 million. The guy of whom UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian said was "probably the most talented player I have ever coached," who averaged 29.1 points per game his senior season at UNLV in 1992-93, never had the NBA career most would have predicted. Or maybe he did.

Drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1993, Rider started his pro career with a bang — by showing up late to his first practice. What followed in six-plus seasons in the NBA was a series of arrests, fines and suspensions. He bounced from the Timberwolves to the Trail Blazers, Hawks and Lakers, leaving in his trouble of every sort imaginable. He was suspended in 1999 for going into the stands during a game with the Golden State Warriors. He was arrested for gambling, for assault, for drugs, you name it. While with the Trail Blazers, he threatened to have a reporter killed. Then he did the same to teammate Dikembe Mutumbo. He was arrested more than once on allegations of rape. By 2001, finally, mercifully, his career was over. It ended almost comically, with Rider a no-show for the first two days of training camp with the Denver Nuggets — getting to the Pepsi Center right behind the Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus, which was playing there for the weekend. Yes, he was beaten to practice by elephants.

So yeah, compared to that, Ron Artest is the banker dad from Mary Poppins. And let's hope he stays that way.

Former NBA Player Isaiah Rider Arrested For Kidnapping [San Francisco Chronicle]