In an interview with Basketball Network, Metta World Peace described his experiences while playing Michael Jordan as a youngster.
There’s no doubt that MJ displayed a hitherto unseen level of dominance and excellence during his Bulls tenure. Jordan was, however, unable to reproduce the same magic during his two seasons with the Washington Wizards.
Aged 40 by the time he decided to hang up his boots for the final time, MJ’s play declined considerably after a knee injury in 2002. During his first season with Washington, he looked to be on course to leading the Wizards to the playoffs.
Michael Jordan had built a great partnership with Rip Hamilton, but the latter was then traded to Detroit in exchange for Jerry Stackhouse. Jordan and Stack never really got along as teammates. Stack later revealed how he regretted teaming up with an ageing Jordan, causing his own production to regress.
Metta World Peace describes the experience of facing an ageing Michael Jordan
World Peace, known at the time by his birth name of Ron Artest, once broke Michael Jordan’s ribs while facing him. Despite the injury, MJ did not go off the court, continuing to play his way through the pain barrier.
Beyond this experience, Artest also saw Jordan as a vulnerable 40-year-old in his final season:
“I was on the same court as MJ in the summer maybe five or seven times. And I loved playing MJ man, it was the most fun thing ever.”
“His first year he came back, he was so good. But next year he looked older, and his production went way down in his last year. But he still gave us 40, when I was with the Pacers.”
“So he (Michael Jordan) was cooking everybody. You know what I’m saying. Finley was in there, Stackhouse was in there, a young LeBron was in there.” – Ron Artest pic.twitter.com/tW8vpaJN6H
— MJs GOAT (@MjsGoat) March 17, 2020
Artest went on to make several playoff runs without championship success until he teamed up with Kobe Bryant in 2009. He retired in the year 2017 after a short comeback season with the Lakers.