As the clock ticked, Metta World Peace formerly known as Ron Artest was holding the ball.
The crowd wanted him to shoot as everyone egged him for another 2 point to get into the 20-point barrier. It was already a won ball game, but this one is different. For years, we haven’t seen Metta scoring more than ten points. At 37 years old and with months older than his head coach, Metta was having more DNPs (Did not play) than minutes played in the court this season. This has been the last game for the Los Angeles Lakers in their home turf, and might be Metta’s prelude ending to his career or in the organization.
Yet, there just below the half court, Metta stood as the shot clock run down. No need for him to shoot and humiliate their opponent. The classy veteran smiled as the crowd stood up and praised him more with deafening cheers around Staples center.
From the brawl in the Palace all the way to breaking Michael Jordan’s ribs, there’s really no challenge that Metta has back down. No first or second gear, no half-bake, like a dog on leashed once you let him out, he goes all out. Metta wears his heart on his sleeves. Somehow, the intensity and passion almost got out of hand or misunderstood. Others thought he was a nut case, from drinking Hennessy on half time, to being suspended for destroying a TV camera and for asking a month off because he is tired of promoting an R&B album. Taking Metta always comes with repercussions but you get something that every coach wants… a fighter and a born winner.
So there he is… right on the middle of Staples center. Those rage and intensity we have seen before has now been covered with a smile. 17 years he gave his life to basketball. From Ron Artest to Panda Friend then to Metta World Peace no matter how many names he wants.
From the biggest stage, and with everyone’s eyes on him. Metta just smiled, we just saw a man who finally made his peace.