COMMENTARY | Metta World Peace should have seen this coming.
World Peace was suspended for one game without pay after grabbing Detroit guard Brandon Knight's neck and striking him in the jaw during Sunday's 98-97 Lakers win against the Pistons, the NBA announced Tuesday. That three-second scuffle cost World Peace $88,520.
If you missed the altercation here is a link to the video the NBA conveniently provided.
Let's get this out of the way first. In no way do I condone fighting on the court. This is basketball, not mixed martial arts.
With that said this suspension by the NBA was solely based on World Peace's reputation, and the very fact he is a repeat offender. Sorry, changing your name doesn't expunge your history, World Peace.
When Knight's and World Peace's arms got tangled up in the second quarter of Sunday's game, it appeared as if World Peace was trying to control the situation. If you know mixed martial arts, it appeared as if World Peace was trying to get inside control by putting Knight in a Muay Thai clinch. It just so happened when World Peace was trying to get his left arm up and through, the backside of his hand struck Knight in the jaw. It was not a closed fist, however.
After the game, World Peace told ESPN: "(Knight's) a small guy. He was trying his hardest to keep me off him. He worked hard, man."
Knight told the reporters after the game that "the play needs to be reviewed because he definitely threw a punch. It felt like he threw a punch. That's why I reacted the way I did."
Well the NBA listened and watched.
While only World Peace knows whether he intended to uppercut Knight, the NBA likely erred on the side of caution and suspended him. Interestingly enough, World Peace wasn't ejected during the game even after the refs reviewed the call. A Flagrant Foul 1 is called when a player makes "unnecessary contact." Not sure how often it happens when the NBA changes a Flagrant Foul 1 to a suspension, but it's rare.
Can you blame the NBA for suspending World Peace, however?
Everything World Peace does is scrutinized. And if it happens in the Palace of Auburn Hills, well that's just bad luck for World Peace. Even though what happened in Detroit was nearly a decade ago it's hard not to believe that World Peace is still being punished for it. World Peace has now been suspended 14 times in his 14-year career. As a Laker, he has been suspended three times.
I have no problem with World Peace being that "enforcer" as long as he doesn't get carried away. But, now more than ever, the Lakers, who are clawing for a playoff spot, need less peace and more Ron Artest.
Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports that the World Peace is a key, especially because the team needs his feistiness, his enforcer-like mentality. Bryant told Yahoo! Sports that "Metta's just as intense as I am, and he's got a lot of that psychopath attitude that I do."
You take the good with World Peace.
This season, he has been great, knocking down key threes, blowing kisses to fans, and guarding the opposition's best player. He has a history of being a standout NBA citizen too, raffling his Lakers world championship ring and donating part of his paycheck to mental health charities. Heck, he even won the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award during the 2010-11 season, an award given each year for "outstanding service and dedication to the community." World Peace won it for his work in mental health awareness.
You take the eccentric.
Dancing with the Stars and eating an orange. Concussing himself Christmas night 2009 after tripping over a box and falling down a flight of stairs at his home. Thanking his psychiatrist after a thrilling Game 7 victory against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals.
You take the bad.
Shooting threes. Confessing to drinking in the locker room at halftime when he was playing for the Chicago Bulls. Coming out with bad rap songs such as his single, "Represented," that dropped in December, which includes a vintage Ron-Ron line: "My brain is the mike, I be talking to myself, cause I don't know what I been saying, half of the time, I just be feeling in something weird, out of my mind."
You take the ugly.
The elbow from hell on former Oklahoma City Thunder forward James Harden that cost World Peace seven games. Or swinging limbs at Matt Harpring. Jumping into stands and punching fans during the infamous Malice in the Palace that cost him 86 games, the longest NBA suspension for an on-the-court incident.
Thankfully for World Peace and the NBA, the Lakers only make one regular season trip a year to Detroit.
The NBA still remembers.
Bryan Chu is a multi-award winning journalist who has covered the Los Angeles Lakers for NBA.com and worked as a sports and criminal justice reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and the Albany Times Union. During his career, the Los Angeles native has covered everything from Jeremy Lin (pre and post Linsanity) to Lance Armstrong. He is currently pursuing an MBA in brand management and business analytics at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. You can follow him on Twitter: BryanChuNBA.