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They told us so.

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We didn't believe them.

They told us he'd be a headache, more trouble than he was worth.

They said he'll never change - once a thug, always a thug.

They called him a ticking timebomb, they called us risk takers, they told us to enjoy the honeymoon.

They acknowledged his excellent game, but emphasized his historically checkered judgment.

We ignored it. We said we'd deal with that when it came. We enjoyed the moment - the inspiring run to end 2005-06, the hellaciously fun playoff run against the Spurs, the offseason of wild, wild dreams.

When he started calling out teammates, we got a bit nervous. When his dogs got taken away for abuse, we shook our heads. When he he told the coach and his fans to ..., we got worried.

And now that he's been arrested for spousal abuse? We realize we got burned.

Things were on a definite downslide w/r/t the Artest Era before today. Now, the damage is irrevocable. It's hard to cheer a locker room cancer, a guy who doesn't take care of his dogs, a general asshole. It's more difficult - impossible - to cheer a guy who hits his wife.

He'll play again this season in the royal purple and white. But the era has ended. The love affair is over.