Hill's a much-needed feel-good story

Updated: November 23, 2004, 9:08 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
It's getting ugly folks. The "SportsNation" has spoken. The pitchforks have been sharpened. The NBA, it appears, is going to hell.

Reading the national takes on the Ron Artest brawl, it appears the consensus opinion is the league faces a serious problem. Apparently, the masses feel this incident of player-fan violence is part of a bigger trend.

I got more than 1,000 e-mails from Insider readers yesterday. I read every one. Almost every e-mail fell into one of two camps. The first thought NBA commissioner David Stern didn't go far enough. Artest represents everything that was wrong with the NBA, and Stern should kick him, and players like him, out of it.

The other camp was horrified with how rabid the response has been. While no one argued Artest should escape punishment, many believed his punishment was too harsh. There were circumstances that led to his irrational response. Artest should be punished, they argued, but he should not be Stern's scapegoat.

Either way, it appears everyone believes the league is in trouble.

With all the ugliness enshrouding the league at the moment, it's easy to lose sight of the bright spots that have made this season one of the most interesting in recent memory.

For every Artest, there is a Grant Hill. Hill, remarkably, won the NBA Player of the Week award on Monday. One year ago, the Magic believed he might never play basketball again.

Before you turn off your TVs, cancel your subscription to Insider and hang up your hightops for a Pilates mat … hear me out.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer