Every person I am friends with has driven drunk at least once in our twenties. I am no different. I’m not proud to write it, but it’s true and also naive to think otherwise. Unlike many of my friends, I was lucky enough never to have received a DUI. It changes your life forever and not in a good way. I did have to blow into a breathalyzer once, but I wasn’t even drinking that night. Fortunately for everyone else on the road, no one I know got into an accident while drinking and driving.
Now that I’m well into my thirties and have a wife and daughter, I don’t put myself into those situations anymore. But drinking and driving isn’t going to stop anytime soon. I just saw the movie “Hangover” over the weekend (as an aside, I loved it) and heard the character Phil say a line that me and my buddies used to say frequently: “I’m a better driver when I’m drunk” or something close to it.
DUI’s happen to every class. From your white trash guy, to your rich spoiled kid, to your everyday female bank teller. And they happen to athletes too. Charles Barkley, Michael Phelps, Tony LaRussa, Carmelo Anthony, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, as in the cases of Leonard Little and Donte Stallworth, their drunk driving can prove to be fatal. I never understood why many of these rich athletes don’t hire drivers. It’s not like they can’t afford it. Me and my buddies all wised up and when it was time for our bachelor parties, we either got limos or one of those short buses for hire that you can get stupid drunk in.
When we think of smart athletes, Ron Artest rarely comes to mind, but after listening to this interview on KHTK in Sacramento I actually think he sort of gets it. He talks about partying, but partying safe. He broaches many other topics in this interview as he’s great friends with the host Carmichael Dave, but the one comment definitely caught my eye or should I say ear.
On partying a little bit during the offseason:
“You know, it’s funny. I was partying the other day and I had a limo, you know, I’m 29 so I can drink a little bit. So I was feeling good and tipsy and they pulled us over, and I’m not driving, and the cop says, “Have you guys been drinking?” And I said, “Yeah. Quite a lot of drinks officer, I’m not driving, why are you asking me that? My driver’s not drunk.” He’s asking me, “Hey, have you been drinking?” “Uh, I’m afraid so buddy.”
On the rumor that he’d be open to playing in Greece:
“Ummm, I read that too somewhere. I read that and they said “Ron Artest is open to playing in Greece.” And I said, “Oh, for real? Let me speak to them.”