5 Most Memorable Moments of Metta World Peace’s Los Angeles Lakers Career
Metta World Peace in L.A.
The amnestying of Metta World Peace—or the Artist Formerly Known as Ron Artest—was met with a bittersweet welcome by Los Angeles Lakers fans. From management's perspective, it was clearly the right move; Los Angeles is intent on cutting costs, and at $7.7 million owed to him next year, Metta's contract simply cannot stay on the Lakers' books.
Sure, Lakers fans may have had to defend Metta/Ron during his most indefensible moments. Metta was like that irrationally confident seven year-old who storms over to the playground thinking he can handle every twelve year-old in the neighborhood. Only in Metta's case, his childish attitude was encased in a powerful body that could do serious damage to those that rubbed him the wrong way (just ask James Harden's beard).
Though he only wore the purple and gold for four seasons, the Los Angeles chapter of Metta's long, strange trip of a career could be a novel by itself. He was brought to Los Angeles for two reasons: to defend Carmelo Anthony and to defend Paul Pierce. That's it. Otherwise Trevor Ariza, whom the then-Artest replaced, was clearly an all-around better player. He aggravated fans with his drives-to-nowhere and his ill-advised technical fouls. He delighted us with his lock-down defense and occasional moments of offensive inspiration. He baffled us with his post-game pronouncements and on-court demeanor. He etched himself into our memories and never let go.
Whether you love him, hate him, or are simply exhausted by him, let's take a look back at the incomparable Metta World Peace's top five moments as a Laker.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels reporter for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.
5. Elbows James Harden in Face
We have to start with what was undoubtedly Metta's low point in LA. The inexplicable, April 2012 elbowing of James Harden was one of those disappointing moments where you realized World Peace is nothing more than a man-child with little regard to his surroundings. He let his id get the better of him and was suspended seven games for the outburst.
4. Gets Twitter
Have you ever wanted an unfiltered look inside the mind of a four year-old who has more toys than he knows what to do with? Well you're in luck, because World Peace's Twitter probably deserves its own exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art. Whether he's arranging spontaneous flag football games or swearing off Twitter for the thousandth time, Metta's feed is the gift that keeps on giving.
3. Releases Children's Book of Bedtime Stories
Who wouldn't buy this? I mean seriously, wouldn't you? If anything it's amazing World Peace didn't release a children's book earlier, given what a toddler he is at heart.
2. Changes Name to Metta World Peace
Artest's 2011 name change may have come out of nowhere, but did it really shock you? At this point in his career, nothing would have shocked me. We're talking about a guy who used to guzzle Hennessy at halftime, tried to work a second job at Circuit City during his rookie season and assaulted a fan in the stands during a game. The name change is probably one of the least shocking moves in World Peace's performance art-esque career.
1. Thanks Therapist After 2010 Championship
We have to end with World Peace's (then Artest's) most heartfelt moment as a Laker. It can't be easy being Metta, but it must be even more difficult to be the person tasked with keeping Metta on an even keel. Yet World Peace proved he is capable of gratitude when he gave a public shout out to his psychiatrist ("Dr. Judy") at the time. It helped that the acknowledgement came after the then-Artest led his Lakers with 20 points en route to a Game 7 victory over the hated Boston Celtics, and for that he will live on in Laker lore forever.