In May, Dan Devine relayed the news that New York Knicks forward Metta World Peace would be releasing a children’s book full of bedtime stories, a peaceful offering that several other NBA players have cobbled together over the last 20 or so years. NBA players are less known for controversial, tell-all books; what with that brand to enhance and possible post-playing gig within the NBA to hope for, so you won’t see many of the league’s more embarrassing moments documented with a player or ex-player’s name on the byline.
Metta may change that. In an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post, World Peace claims that he’s already written a book about the infamous ‘Malice at the Palace’ fight that took place between Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons fans early in the 2004-05 season, a fight that led to massive suspensions, the destruction of what could have been a championship-level run for Indiana, and a major black eye for the sport.
Q: The Malice at the Palace.
A: I wrote a book about it, son. I think I’m gonna wait to talk about it. But I wrote a book about that whole experience.
Q: When’s it coming out?
A: I think next summer.
Q: Do you think it affected your reputation?
A: Maybe like 500,000 people still talk about it, or a million people. But the other 6.9 billion people in the world, I think they got other things to worry about, you know — from the economy, to Middle East problems, to starvation in some countries, to girl trafficking in some countries, to gang violence. There’s so many other problems in the world.
Q: But given those same circumstances, would you react the same today?
A: I don’t think about it. There’s nothing to think about.
Q: You want to wait until that book comes out.
A: If that same thing happened today, I don’t think about those situations.
(Thanks to Serby for the interview, but holy lord do I hate “questions” that just name a subject while expecting the person being interviewed to fill in all the blanks.)
As we mentioned above, Metta has already published a children’s book, and obviously there’s no word within this back and forth as to whether or not his ‘Malice’ re-telling will be along those lines, or a tell-all made for adults.
Frankly, it would be hard to beat Jonathan Abrams’ oral history of the incident from last year, as Abrams spoke at length with all manner of participants that were at times just as involved as MWP in the embarrassing skirmish, and (frankly) a bit more lucid and self-aware than Metta was back in November of 2004. World Peace, notably, held out of discussions with Abrams; so it seems a little obvious that the Knicks forward is planning for his take (probably pitched just before the 10th anniversary of the brawl) to make Metta some money, and not ESPN’s Grantland network some click-throughs.
It makes sense, considering that MWP refers to losing out on “more than that” after Serby mentioned the $5 million (the near-entirety of his 2004-05 contract) that was wiped out due to the suspension that ended his season.
Of course, because it’s Metta World Peace, a few other things from the interview make far less sense.
His favorite food, for instance? “Beans.” No explanation behind that, because why follow up on a throwdown like that? Beans.
The three people he’d invite to dinner? Dennis Rodman, Mike Tyson and, you guessed it … Celine Dion. Serby asks why Rodman and Tyson would be invited (various sports reasons; though Metta should know that a check in the high four figures for an appearance fee is all it takes to wrangle Rodman and Tyson to your table), but declines to ask why in the hell Celine Dion would have to be part of this.
Metta also mentions that he has nary a clue what he’d do if he were given the gig as NBA commissioner, but that his immediate first act as President of the United States would be to “have probably my own sports bar.”
God help Metta World Peace’s ghostwriter.