Metta World Peace, the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest, has certainly had one of the most infamous NBA careers in recent memory. From his rough start with the Bulls to brawling at The Palace, World Peace found his name in headlines, but often for the wrong reasons.
But World Peace joined The Athletic on Tuesday to share his side of the story for several of these incidents, including the time he broke Michael Jordan's ribs.
It happened in the summer of 2001, when Jordan was getting ready to return from his second retirement. According to The Athletic, World Peace has said the injury was an accident for a long time, but media coverage deemed the incident a fight.
In the interview, World Peace recalls Jordan inviting him to play pick up ball. World Peace assumed it was because he could play lockdown defense, helping to push Jordan into game shape.
World Peace then goes into his mentality during that pick up game.
"You know, (on that day) when he locks you in the post, I tried to deny because the key to Jordan is you can't let him touch the ball, right?" World Peace said via The Athletic. "So then as I was denying with the left hand, my right elbow went under his hand that was under his left hand that was grabbing me."
"So I get his hand out the way, then I hit him with my elbow in his ribs and then the ref called an offensive foul. Jordan had refs at every single run, and the ref called an offensive foul, and I'm like, ‘Yeah!' And then Jordan went like this (holds his side) and I was like ‘Oh…'"
Obviously no one wants to hurt their opponent on the court, but when your opponent is the GOAT it's even worse.
"I remember (thinking) like, ‘I think I hurt Michael Jordan,' so I went home and I didn't leave my house for like two days," World Peace said. "I didn't go back to the gym, and everybody's like, ‘Where you at?' I was just home."
"I was drinking some Hennessy, and the Bulls didn't hear from me, and then… my agent called me at the time, it was Mark Bartelstein. And he called me and said, ‘Hey, you all right?' I said, ‘No, I think I hurt Michael Jordan.'"
But the worst was yet to come for World Peace.
"Then it came out: Michael Jordan's ribs broke. And Metta World Peace had a fight with Michael Jordan. And I'm like, ‘I did not have a fight with Michael Jordan.' They said, ‘He punched Michael Jordan.' And I'm like, ‘Oh man…' so I didn't want to leave (my apartment)."
Understandable. But according to World Peace, Jordan cleared the air and set his mind at ease.
"Jordan calls me, and Jordan was like, ‘Hey man, it's ok. Things happen, and don't worry about it.' And then I went back to playing. It was one of the greatest phone calls I got in my life."
Metta World Peace recalls the time he broke Michael Jordan's ribs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago