By Vincent Bonsignore
Like the sun rising from the east, it was inevitable Metta World-Peace would have a reaction to Denver coach George Karl essentially calling him a dirty player.
And like that same sun setting in the west, it was equally certain the response would be an instant classic.
When it comes to World-Peace, that’s just the way it goes.
So when Karl called out World-Peace Friday for what he described as “premeditated” elbow to the face of Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried as World-Peace tried to block Faried out during a game earlier this week, the Lakers colorful forward was ready to respond.
If you didn’t see the play, Faried came crashing through the lane on a Nuggets shot and World-Peace catches him with his left elbow as he attempted to get a body on him. The basket was good, the Lakers immediately called a time out and no foul was called.
But upon the NBA’s review of the play – World-Peace insists at the behest of the Nuggets – the league assessed him with a Flagrant-2 foul.
On top of that, Karl later complained World-Peace meant to do it.
By Saturday afternoon World-Peace was ready to defend himself, inviting a group of reporters to gather around him as he told his side of the story.
Admittedly, World-Peace said he probably could have shuffled his feet more to the baseline as he positioned himself for Faried.
At the same time, he could sense Faried bearing down on him and knew the play would be physical.
“They ask me did you see the guy coming? Yeah I saw him coming,” World-Peace said. “The best offensive rebounder is coming full speed; one of the most athletic guys in the league is coming full speed down your back. That impact, it’s not soft. It hurts me too.”
According to World-Peace, he simply braced himself for impact.
“When this guy is coming 100 miles per hour, or his top speed down my back, what else am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to skinny up?” World-Peace said. “What am I gonna do, but box out, like you were taught in school. Get your hands up, get down and box out.”
World-Peace insists his style of play is the result of watching the hardnosed NBA that defined the 1990’s, like the New York Knicks battling the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls in which intimidation was every bit as important as skill.
In many ways, he claims he’s just a product of what he grew up watching.
“It’s not like I brought this aggression to the league. I didn’t invent this. This is what we watched. This is what we saw,” World-Peace said.
And Karl knows better than anyone, according to World-Peace.
“George Karl knows. He’s been in this NBA longer than me,” World-Peace said. “He knows the era of basketball.”