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NBA reviewing report of Ron Artest's early-career drinking

December 2, 2009 |  1:48 pm

Artest The NBA is pondering what action, if any, to take regarding the news that Ron Artest admitted drinking alcohol during games while playing for the Chicago Bulls earlier in his career.

Artest, signed by the Lakers during the off-season, told the Sporting News that he used to drink Hennessy cognac at halftime of games in part because the team was losing so often. Artest spent 21/2 seasons with the Bulls before being traded to Indiana near the midpoint of the 2001-02 season.

Artest also criticized referee Joey Crawford for his officiating during last season's Western Conference semifinals, according to the report. Artest played at the time for the Rockets, who lost to the Lakers in seven games.

"Joey Crawford basically said, 'Who cares about the Houston Rockets? Kobe Bryant is on the floor,' " Artest told the magazine.

The league has not decided whether to fine or suspend Artest -- or take no action -- according to NBA spokesman Tim Frank.

Frank declined to comment other than to say, "We hope Ron has a successful season."

Artest, 30, is averaging 12.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 17 games for the Lakers.

Strangely enough, Artest posted a party-themed post on his Twitter account early Wednesday afternoon.

"Let's party!!!!!!!" it read. "This Friday:)))"

The tweet had a link to an electronic flyer in which Artest was promoting a party at Club Empire in Los Angeles. Paradoxically, the flyer showed the backside of a scantily clad woman but also offered 50% off a $20 cover charge if club-goers brought a toy to be donated to "the children's hospital."

Artest has posted such club outings on his Twitter account in the past, most recently to tell people he was going to a club last week for Lakers teammate Shannon Brown's birthday, but the timing of this one was poor at best, given the timing of the news earlier today.

-- Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Ron Artest listens to the national anthem before a game against Oklahoma City on Nov. 22. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times