Will Metta World Peace Ultimately Be Remembered As A Troublemaker?
In case you can’t tell by his name, Metta World Peace has undergone quite the transformation over the course of the last few years. Once upon a time, World Peace was anything but a peaceful man. He fought and clawed his way through games. He delivered hard fouls, picked up flagrant and technical fouls on the regular, and earned plenty of extra attention from the NBA Commissioner‘s office. That was his reputation and, from the outside looking in, he enjoyed having it.
Why else would someone start one of the biggest brawls in the NBA history by running into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a Detroit Pistons/Indiana Pacers game to attack a helpless fan? Why else would he pick up an 86-game suspension for doing do? Why else would World Peace—then known as Ron Artest—be so, well, mean?
But he’s done a lot of good for the world since that time. Just last season, he won the NBA’s citizenship award for all the good that he does off the court. That came just a year after he sold his 2010 NBA championship ring in order to raise money for $650,000 for mental health charities. And then there was the name change last summer. However, at times, World Peace resorts back to his old self. And never has that been more evident than it was on Sunday night when his Los Angeles Lakers were playing the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After throwing down a hard dunk, World Peace turned around to celebrate. But, that celebration was short-lived after he cocked his elbow back, threw it at Thunder guard James Harden, and caught him right in the back of the head. World Peace was handed a Flagrant 2 foul immediately and ejected from the game. Harden was taken back to the locker room after writhing in pain on the court for several minutes. And, just like that, World Peace was, once again, the bad guy.
Unfortunately, that might be the way World Peace will ultimately be remembered. You see, NBA fans have given World Peace chance after chance after chance to redeem himself—especially since he made the move to change his name. That was supposed to indicate the end of the Ron Artest way of thinking. He was supposed to start being the fun-loving, gentle guy that everyone loves—not the cantankerous player who throws elbows at the heads of other players. Yet, he reverted back to that guy on Sunday night. And, in doing so, he may have just cemented his legacy as a player.
We won’t remember World Peace as the guy who did everything he could to help people with mental diseases. We won’t remember World Peace as the guy who won the citizenship award. Hell, we won’t even remember World Peace as World Peace. We’ll remember World Peace as Ron Artest, the guy who started trouble in the NBA all the time. And, you know what? He’s got no one to blame but himself for that.