Few would mistake Metta World Peace’s goofiness for Derek Fisher’s eloquence.
But Bryant has recently asked World Peace to fulfill the same role Fisher once had when he won five championships with the Lakers.
“I encourage Metta to speak up because he’s been through adverse situations,” said Bryant, while also crediting the former Ron Artest for helping the Lakers win the 2010 NBA title. “He plays with the energy, passion and intensity that we need, so that it becomes infectious.”
World Peace has become a stabilizing force during this uncertain season. His peak conditioning and hustle has contributed to World Peace ranking third in team scoring (13.8 points per game), his highest output in his four seasons with the Lakers.
“When I first got here, there were 14 champions and all I had to do was listen,” World Peace said. “Now I have to take more of a leadership role.”
“Kobe is not going to talk much. He’s not a vocal leader. He leads by his play. Pau and Steve (Nash) lead with their smarts,” World Peace said.
“Dwight (Howard) leads by being a force on the glass.”
World Peace has spoken to children as part of his mental health advocacy in an introspective albeit rambling nature. That contrasts Fisher’s ability to speak in paragraphs. That’s why World Peace compared Fisher to a “professor” and considers him his “idol.”
“A couple speeches when I talked before the game, I saw it rub off,” World Peace said. “With the way I play the game, that intensity is how we need to play. Hopefully I don’t sound selfish, but I think every five guys that are out there should be playing that way.”
What does he say?
“It’s a consistent positive message,” World Peace said. “I never judge or point fingers.”