So much for World Peace.
Metta World Peace of the Lakers received a seven-game suspension Tuesday from the NBA for his wicked elbow to the head of James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder during Sunday afternoon’s game at Staples Center.
Harden suffered a concussion and was unable to play in tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings. World Peace’s suspension will begin with the Lakers’ regular-season finale Thursday against the Kings and continue into the playoffs.
The punishment figured to be harsh, but perhaps not as much as it could have been given his history. World Peace, then known as Ron Artest, received a league-record 86-game suspension for fighting with fans in Auburn Hills, Mich., in November 2004.
“The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they’re directed at the head area,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “We remain committed to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he supported the league’s ruling.
“Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers,” Kupchak said in a statement. “Still, his most recent lapse in judgment is not to be condoned or accepted. His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”
Lakers coach Mike Brown said he spoke to World Peace about Sunday’s incident and heard him tell the same story he told reporters in a brief statement after the game, after which he declined to take questions.
“He said he went up and dunked the ball,” Brown said. “He said he was celebrating. As he came down the floor, he said he hit the kid with an elbow. He said it was an accident. Whether it was an accident or not, I don’t know. … Should that have happened? No, it shouldn’t have happened.”