England could use a little peace right now, and they're getting Metta World Peace. Ron Artest, against the advice of his agent, his sponsors, and anyone who knows anything about basketball, has signed a deal to play for the Cheshire Jets of the British Basketball League.
The BBL is bad. A mixture of D3 grads and local not-very-good players, the BBL is objectively the worst domestic league in all of Europe. In the ULEB league rankings, which are similar to UEFA's league coefficient for soccer, the BBL comes in 29th out of 29. That's behind such basketball powers as Montenegro, Latvia, and any other country that's been able to throw 10 team together for a league. The rankings are based on arena size, media coverage, and most importantly, level of play — Artest is going to be a man among boys. Unathletic Eton boys.
Presumably, the point of playing overseas during the lockout is to stay in shape against decent competition. For Ron Artest, the point of anything is to have fun.
If I go overseas, I want to be able to have fun with the fans and with the people. I don't want to be bored. I want to be somewhere where we can play ball and have fun. That's why I'm interested in the U.K., because I can really go there and make it a rap show. Just play ball, be crazy and entertain.
Ron will be somewhere where he speaks the language, and is supposedly filming a movie in the fall. I think there's a very good chance that when the lockout ends, he will refuse to come back.
Ron Artest to play for Cheshire Jets [LA Times]
[Artest photoshop via HoopsFix]