The moment the topic involving Metta World Peace came up, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak immediately smiled and chuckled.
The question centered on whether Kupchak could sense if World Peace will exercise his $7.7 million player option. But Kupchak’s mind focused elsewhere.
“I’m still trying to get over the Cookie Monster comment,” Kupchak said Tuesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo.
World Peace somehow compared his want to wear a Cookie Monster T-Shirt to his exit interview with Kupchak and coach Mike D’Antoni to Jason Collins’ willingness to publicly announce he is gay through an article in Sports Illustrated.
“Whether it’s a free country or not, you should be free to act as you want to do as long as it’s not violent,” World Peace said. “No matter what it is. I came here in a Cookie Monster shirt because I wanted to, and I was going to wear the pants. But I thought you guys were going to judge me. I was going to wear the hat too. But I thought you guys would judge me. I didn’t want Mitch [Kupchak] to judge me. So that’s why I didn’t wear the hats and the pants. But I should’ve wore it. You should be free to do and act how you want to act.”
Of course, word got back to Kupchak about World Peace’s fear that he would judge him if he wore the whole Cookie Monster outfit.
“I would never judge Metta,” Kupchak said with a smirk. “I like the shirt.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org