Metta World Peace elbowed the Oklahoma Thunder's James Harden in the head Sunday night, but that wasn't the only foul moment in the career of the Los Angeles Laker formerly known as Ron Artest.
The talented star was celebrating a big dunk when he lashed out and struck Harden in the head, leaving the Thunder player with a concussion, and likely earning himself yet another suspension as well.
Though Ron Artest, who had his name changed to Metta World Peace last year, tried to argue that the elbow throw was a mistake, the replay shows what seems to be a fully intentional and despicable display of aggression aimed at injuring Harden.
"During that play I just dunked on (Kevin) Durant and (Serge) Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow," World Peace said after the Lakers beat the Thunder on Sunday. "I hope he's OK. The Thunder, they're playing for a championship this year, so I hope that he's OK and I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden."
The series of flagrant fouls, outbursts and other shameful behavior that have defined much of Artest's career make his name even more ridiculous than it already is, as someone who feels the need to plaster the words "World Peace" on the back of his injury clearly shouldn't be one of the most violent and out-of-control players in the NBA.
But Mr. World Peace really isn't a huge peace promoter. No Nobel Prize is in the cards for him. He told ESPN that Chad Ochocinco of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals was his inspiration for changing his name. Ron Artest went on to explain last year what such a change would mean:
"I always like to be on the move as far as creatively, thinking about things and marketing," he told ESPN. "I really wanted to be inspirational."
Now Metta World Peace is just inspiring derision and anger, and even Lakers great Magic Johnson (one of the nicest guys in pro sports) has come out hard against his antics, saying on ESPN Sunday night that as an ambassador for the Lakers he is tired of all the embarrassment and poor sportsmanship emanating from Artest.
Here's a line-up of videos of Ron Artest's worst moments:
Ben Wallace was at the wrong end of a hard foul from Artest, and he ended up landing and pushing Artest right in the face, setting off a huge hubbub in which Artest attacked multiple fans, Wallace could hardly be contained, and security personnel were nowhere to be seen. The game was called off following one of the most vicious displays of unsportsmanlike conduct ever seen in American sport: "It gets worse and worse with 45 seconds to go. And this right now: extremely dangerous. This may be the worst ever seen in an NBA game," the announcer says as the fight continues and fans start to throw items onto the floor. As the announcer says toward the end of the video, the situation was an "utter disaster." So much for world peace:
Good ol' Metta World Peace picked a fight with two of the gnarliest dudes in the NBA on March 11 over what seemed to be a pretty straightforward play. Luckily a number of other players were around and they were at the Staples Center, otherwise Artest would likely have been on the bad end of a pretty serious beatdown. Either way, dumb move, Metta:
Metta is a pretty big dude, so when he goes up against a lightweight point guard like Rondo, he needs to maintain control and composure. But, Artest being who he is, slammed his head into the ground on this loose ball in yet another egregious and unnecessary display:
While Artest was still with the Sacramento Kings, he went pretty crazy against the Jazz, pushing and fouling players, riling up the crowd, getting technicals and eventually being ejected for his foul play. When Artest wakes up on the wrong side of the bed it can make for quite a terrible scene. That's what happened during this game on Jan. 25, 2008 in Salt Lake City:
Here's a fight that could have become one of Artest's worst moments, but luckily he had the sense to stop himself from punching the Nuggets' Joey Graham cold in the face. Still, it's yet another example of Artest's dirty play:
And if that's not enough examples for you, here's a compilation of a bunch of Ron Artest's worst moments that didn't make the list: