LA Lakers forward Metta World Peace (aka Rona Artest) has been at the centre of controversy throughout his career and he his once again under the heat of the NBA, after elbowing Oklahoma’s James Harden on Sunday.
With the changing of his name, World Peace also partially rehabilitated his reputation with various charitable endeavours, which saw him win the 2011 NBA citizenship award. Over the last few months he has been a much less volatile player and person both and off the court, and has stepped his game up since Kobe Bryant has been out of the team. When you think back to the ‘Malice in the Palace’ braw in Detroit eight years ago, he is a changed man. Or is he?
All his good work in being a better person might have been undone during Sunday afternoon's Lakers home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unfortunately we saw a side of MWP that we haven't encountered in quite some time and it isn’t a nice side of him to see. With the Lakers down three points in the final minutes of the first half, World Peace executed a really quite excellent Euro step and left-handed dunk in transition. We love to see him do this, but in his excitement, he began celebrating on his way back up the court and bumped into OKC guard (and likely Sixth Man of the Year) James Harden. As Harden moved past him, World Peace elbowed him HARD in the side of the head. This wasn’t any shrug of the elbow, it was a full-blown swing and Harden went to the ground immediately. Fortunately the officials saw the incident and Metta was immediately and rightfully ejected from the game.
People are questioning the intent behind Meta’s swing as he didn’t seem to look at who he was swinging at, but what ever was going through his head was wrong.
World Peace is sure to be suspended for several games, with the exact duration possibly tied to whether or not Harden sustained a serious injury, which we are yet to learn. After all the work he put in to improve himself, it's a shame that things turned in so short a period of time.
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