Los Angeles Lakers starting forward Metta World Peace has not lived up to his name change at all during the shortened 66-game season. World Peace, the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest, has had an all-around pretty disappointing season, averaging a career-low 7.2 points.
Throughout his career World Peace has not been able to avoid headlines, especially bad ones. During his two previous seasons with Los Angeles, he’s kept a surprisingly low profile (at least in Metta’s terms). However, I feel that with the departure of future hall of fame coach Phil Jackson, World Peace doesn’t have anyone keeping him on a leash.
Current head coach Mike Brown is notorious for not being able to deal with high-profile athletes. Take the LeBron James situation for instance. Brown wasn’t the coach of James. James was the coach of himself. Brown’s position in Cleveland could have been filled by almost any other mid-level coach. James felt like he could walk around Quicken Loans Arena and do whatever he wanted, and he did.
So Brown’s control over Peace this season has been nonexistent, as you can tell from his decreasing numbers (also due to age), an arrant pass at the end of a game and this most recent outburst with celebrating and knocking Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden to the floor. Harden was off to a fantastic start in the game too, scoring 14 points in 13 minutes of play off the bench.
Although it’s hard to say if Peace’s very hard elbow to Harden’s head (see in the video below), his post-dunk celebration caused Harden to leave the game with a concussion. Harden still remains out, but teammates such as Kevin Durant say that Harden “looks good” and will be back on the court sooner than later.
Now the suspension that David Stern dealt out on Peace might have not been enough. Peace received two technicals already in the double-overtime win against the Thunder on Sunday, and was also given a seven-game suspension. The suspension will affect one regular season game and at the most six playoff games, taken that the Lakers play six playoff games (likely) against the Denver Nuggets in the first round.
I think Stern should have came down on Peace a little harder than just a seven game punishment. He looked like a fool out on the court by taking his celebration to too extreme of a level. Peace is lucky that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t fine Peace $50,000 for causing a blow to Harden’s head.
What also needs to happen is Brown needs to sit down with Peace and tell him to relax. It’s too bad that the Zen Master isn’t around anymore to calm Metta down. This was a very disgraceful moment in NBA history and I hope to never see anything like Peace’s elbow again. It was way too ferocious. Could have ended a lot worse for Harden.