Ron Artest is one of the most notorious players in the history of the NBA. Metta World Peace wasn’t peaceful very often.
Most NBA fans know the former Lakers‘ swingman more for his antics on the court than his championship-winning 3-point shot in the 2010 NBA Finals or his Defensive Player of the Year season.
The major antagonist of the famous Malice in the Palace incident in November 2004, Artest, still holds the record for the longest ban (86 games) for an on-court incident. It was the year following his best season in the league.
What could have been the year that should have made Ron a star in the league ended up being a year to forget. But even after returning from the season-long ban, he couldn’t manage his anger which might have cost him more than anyone else with that kind of calibre on both ends of the court.
One of his famous incidents, that came in April 2012, was against James Harden who would play a crucial role in eliminating Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in the first round of Playoffs within a few days of this brutal regular season game.
When Metta World Peace turned into Metta World War against James Harden
In a rehearsal for their future matchup with the OKC Thunder in the playoffs, the LA Lakers were in a tough spot and needed something big to get going. And something big did happen as soon as Artest dunked the ball in his typically wild way and was walking down the court while celebrating.
Probably when Ron Artest gave James Harden the standing people’s elbow pic.twitter.com/AFutMAiXZ1
— M (@LightInLightOut) November 28, 2020
He was suspended for seven games for the incident, which, considering his history, many believed wasn’t severe enough at the time. Believe him or not, this incident took a toll on the 2004 All-Star and might have been a reason why he officially changed his to Metta-World Peace. He talked about the incident in his appearance on All The Smoke podcast.
“This is what really happened. Mike Brown came to me and said, ‘Yo, I need more energy.’ So, I got a dunk and [screamed] ‘argh!’ I was hyped. Too hyped. And at this moment, James nudged me. It wasn’t that big, it was the same thing I did with Ben Wallace. I was like, ‘get off me.’” Metta told.
Meta continued, “I thought it would’ve been on the shoulder like just rubbed ‘get off!’. Not an elbow. I didn’t really hit Harden. He would’ve had a knot. That kind of hurt me a lot. I hate that image, it’s one of my worst.”