Artest: "I Used to Drink Hennessy at Halftime"

"I worked really hard but still had this ghetto thing in me that I could not get out"

By Nicola Orichuia
|  Thursday, Dec 3, 2009  |  Updated 1:54 PM EDT
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There's a reason Ron Artest seemed like a drunken idiot during his time with the Chicago Bulls.

The power forward was drinking. During games.

Artest, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, admitted in an interview with SportingNews that he “used to drink Hennessy … at halftime” of Bulls games.

"I [kept it] in my locker. I'd just walk to the liquor store and get it," he said.

In the interview, which hits newsstands this week, Artest repents for his thuggish ways and claims responsibility for an awful Bulls squad.

“It was all my fault. The first team, in Chicago, I was a head case,” he told SportingNews. “I worked really hard but still had this ghetto thing in me that I could not get out.”

The Bulls drafted Artest with the 16th overall pick in 1999, and the forward helped lead the team to a depressing 53-188 record between 1999 and 2002. Artest said he drank more because the team stunk, and the team stunk because he drank more.

The 30-year-old NBA star also talked to The Sporting News about his role in 2004 brawl in Detroit which ended up costing him $7 million in salary and a 73-game suspension.

"It wasn't my fault. … I don't see anything I could have done different. The only thing I could have done was have God pause time so I could have said, 'Oh, look, you're about to run in some stands, so stop.'"

The other player in that famous brawl, the Detroit Pistons’ Ben Wallace, apparently still needs to watch his back.

“I see Ben, I'm on my guard now. I'm always in the mood to fight him. I'll get suspended 10 games, 15 games [because] I'll just fight him right there. It won't go into the stands.”

Wallace, who is in Chicago to play against the Bulls tonight, replied that Artest "had his chance. But if he wants to go to the stands... tell him I wear No. 6, not No.3."

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