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Lakers forward Ron Artest leaves a strange impression in Houston

Known for his goofy antics, he conducts a bizarre radio interview while pretending (badly, he says) to be Rockets forward Luis Scola.

December 03, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Ron Artest was at it again.

It wasn't quite the same impact as wearing boxers while fielding talk-show questions from Jimmy Kimmel, but the Lakers forward attempted another comedic touch after the Lakers lost in Houston on Wednesday.

He pretended to be Rockets forward Luis Scola after he was handed a cellphone by a Houston radio-show employee in the Lakers' locker room.

"They asked me to do an interview — 'Can Ron Artest come on 540 [AM]?' — or whatever station. I said OK. When I picked up the phone, they said 'Luis Scola, how are you doing?' I just took it from there."

Artest, acting as Scola, said he would eat Spanish food to celebrate the Rockets' victory . . . even though Scola is from Argentina.

On Friday, Artest said he didn't sound like Scola at all.

"It was horrible," he said. "The accent was horrible. Who was the radio host? He's horrible. I had an Arabian accent. They said, 'Hey Luis Scola. . . .' So I started talking a lot of trash. I could be anybody to these guys. They can't catch an accent. Totally not Espanol. Totally Jamaican mixed with Hebrew."

Artest spent one season with the Rockets before signing with the Lakers last year but said he hadn't heard from Scola since the fabricated interview.

"A couple people from the Rockets called me and said, 'You're silly,'" Artest said.

Apparently, nobody is safe from Artest. He said he would impersonate Pau Gasol if given the opportunity.

"If somebody called me up and had my name wrong, then yeah," he said.

Big men improving

Imagine that. There's actually some positive injury news involving the Lakers' big men.

Reserve center Theo Ratliff will return to the lineup in about two weeks, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Ratliff has been sidelined since having cartilage removed from his left knee Nov. 16, but has been working out on an elliptical machine and running on an anti-gravity treadmill that reduces stress on the body.

Despite meager stats before his injury, the Lakers can use him, seeing how Gasol and Lamar Odom have routinely logged 40-plus minutes a game without Ratliff and Andrew Bynum available.

"He's moving along quickly," Jackson said of Ratliff. "We hope it's not so quick that he beats Andrew back . . . not that we hope it's not, but it would be kind of ironic, wouldn't it?

"It looks like somewhere in the next two weeks, things are going to turn around for him."

Ratliff, 37, was averaging 0.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.3 minutes a game while feeling continual pain in his knee. He signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Lakers during the off-season.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report.

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