Let’s break this one down. The fact is that Metta World Peace viciously smashed his elbow to the back of James Harden’s head in a game held between the LA Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder a couple of days ago. Harden was left with a head concussion and although he came back to the bench, he never got back to the game. Metta World Peace, after throwing the cheap shot, squared off as if to fight the Thunder’s big man, Serge Ibaka, before the referees and other players intervened. Truth is that, after the officials watch the tape, they immediately gave him a flagrant foul 2 and he was ejected from the game. Now, after the NBA has officially suspended him for the next 7 games, really feel that he got what he deserved.
Enough with the simple stupidity and the all-eyed-on-me tantrums to which the artist formerly known as Ron Artest has got us used to. Forget that this unprofessional character has legally changed his name to Metta World Peace. We are still talking about the same guy who has over and over been tarnishing not only his name, but the overall prestige of his squad and of the league. So it really seems that it’s hard not to stand behind the NBA commissioner when he delivered his verdict. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players –said David Stern, in the press release- including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
And plenty of history does Ron Artest has. Check out this short synopsis of his foul playing. Last year, World Peace was suspended one game during the 2011 playoffs for clotheslining Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea. A few years before that, back in 2007, Metta, then a member of the Sacramento Kings, was suspended for seven games after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. One year before that, in 2006, Artest was suspended for one game for throwing an elbow at San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. In 2004, he was suspended for one game for elbowing Portland Trail Blazers wing Derek Anderson. But perhaps he will be mostly remembered as the key player in what is now infamously called the “Malice at the Palace,” brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons that same year. That time, even fans got involved in the fighting. As a result, Metta World Peace was suspended for all the 72 games of the 2004-2005 season. World Peace was also fined multiple times early in his career for making obscene gestures to fans.
On Sunday, after the game, Metta World Peace tried to deliver something similar to an apology, but it was not even close. “I got really emotional, really excited,” He said in a short press conference after the game. “It was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow. I hope he’s OK. The Thunder, they are playing for a championship this year, so I really hope that he’s OK. I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden.” Considering this comes from a player that has been suspended for a full season, a 7 game suspension (6 of them in the Playoffs) is not going to really change things much. This will probably not be his last altercation. But perhaps he’ll be retiring soon.