Now that he has encouraged anyone who will listen about the importance of parents reading to their children, Metta World Peace has narrowed in one particular book that he wants to read cover to cover.
Phil Jackson’s new book titled “Eleven Rings” is a 339-page memoir that touches basically on everything – his 11 NBA championships, comparisons to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and his Zen-like teachings. It also touches on his inner workings with his players, including World Peace.
Jackson reflected on his time coaching the former Ron Artest from 2009-2011 by praising his defense, hustle and likable personality, while expressing concern about how he’d learn the triangle offense, his shaky shot selection and sensitivity to criticism.
“I like his thought process,” World Peace said Tuesday in an interview with this newspaper. “If Phil criticizes me and I didn’t like it, but it was intelligent, I respect it and support it. With Phil Jackson, I think his book is cool. He was direct. He gave people a real book. Some people will argue he talks too much. ”
Does World Peace believe that too?
“I would argue that,” he said. “But I love the book because he’s so honest. It’s a fun book. Everybody loves Phil.”
World Peace professed he hasn’t read Jackson’s book yet. It’s a far more comprehensive read than “Metta’s Bedtime Stories,” World Peace’s 34-page children’s book that centers on providing positive lessons for age 4-10. But I provided a rundown of Jackson’s aforementioned feedback and paraphrased the following passage.
“My major concern about Ron was whether he could learn the triangle offense fast enough,” Jackson wrote. “Like Dennis Rodman, Ron had a hard time staying focused. Dennis’ solution was to work out in the gym day and night to burn off restless energy. But Ron had trouble sticking to a workout regimen, so he practiced jump shots instead. The only problem was that every day he would shoot with a different style. And that affected the way he performed in games. Sometimes he was blessed and everything dropped in. Other times, there was no way of telling what was going to happen.”
Jackson then approached World Peace about sticking to one style.
“Why are you always picking on me?” asked World Peace after Jackson gave him some early advice on his shooting style.
“After that incident, I realized that the best way to communicate with Ron was to couch everything in a positive way — not just with the words I used, but with my gestures and facial expressions as well,” writes Jackson. “Eventually, he found out the system and, with the help of Kobe [Bryant] and others, began integrating himself into the team’s DNA.”
World Peace considered Jackson’s take to be accurate. During the 2010 NBA playoffs, World Peace vented on Twitter about Jackson’s criticisms only to delete the posts later. During the 2010-11 season, World Peace also confronted Jackson in practice about zinging him through the media.
Yet, World Peace repeatedly expressed admiration for his former coach that helped him win his first NBA title in 2010.
“The thing with Phil is he challenged me. I never got challenged like that before,” said World Peace, who played with the Chicago Bulls (1999-2002), Indiana Pacers (2001-06), Sacramento Kings (2005-08) and Houston Rockets (2008-09) before joining the Lakers. “It took me a whole season to meet the challenge. He challenged me to be a good teammate and challenged me to be to win a championship. He challenged me in ways I never had been challenged before mentally. It was tough. I overcame it and then we won the championship. That’s why I love Phil. He challenged me to sacrifice and to defer. That was something I was never used to doing. It was a challenge that benefited the team. He challenged my ego. He challenged it and it was for the best of the team. I love Phil.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org