He may have changed his name to Metta World Peace. But he still shows flashes of Ron Artest.
The former Lakers forward was ejected in a playoff game on Thursday with Italy’s Serie A Club Pallacanestro Cantu in its eventual 88-73 loss to Reyer Venezia Mestre. World Peace may sport, “The Pandas’s Friend,” as his name on the back of his jersey. But it hardly looked like he was making any friends when he was involved in an on-court scuffle after exchanging words over a foul.
This is hardly something new for World Peace, who is most known for his role in “the Malice at the Palace,” in 2004, where he drew an 86-game suspension as an Indiana Pacer for going into the Pistons crowd and punching a fan for throwing a drink at him. With the Lakers, World Peace also drew a seven-game suspension in 2012 after delivering a vicious elbow to former Oklahoma City guard James Harden.
But World Peace has since reformed his image, winning the 2010-11 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his various efforts with raising awareness and funds for mental health issues. He also won over the Lakers fanbase both for his role in helping the Lakers to the 2010 NBA championship as well as his eccentric personality.
The Lakers eventually waived World Peace in a cost-cutting measure in the 2013 offseason and then joined the New York Knicks. He then played for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Assn. in 2014-15. He helped coached Palisades Charter High Schooh girl’s basketball team. World Peace then signed a contract in March with Pallacanestro Cantu, ending with a memorable ejection that perhaps only World Peace could pull off.