If you're anything like me, when you were a kid, you had trouble getting to sleep without first hearing at least a couple of stories of life, love and learning as told by a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year. In my case, that meant an awful lot of long-distance calls to very understanding Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton. Luckily, today's youth now has a much more cost-effective and handy option — "Metta's Bedtime Stories," the newly released debut children's book from Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace.
The book, which retails for $12.95, is a short collection of stories aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 10, with titles like "Mud in My Bed" and "I'm Afraid of the Dark." And while the idea of one of the NBA's foremost oddballs and elbow-throwers picking up the pen to reach out to young people is admittedly a bit surprising, it seems like Metta's heart is in the right place:
Metta's Bedtime Stories was written to help children think about daily events in a positive light. These stories will show everyone that you can always have a better day tomorrow, if you have a hopeful heart and keep positive thoughts.
That's a neat message, and very much of a piece with the youth-focused bent of a lot of his mental health awareness work, from raffling off his championship ring to raise money for more mental health professionals in schools and producing a cartoon public service announcement that was apparently intended to promote mental health awareness by showing the former Ron Artest as a skateboarding super hero named Metta Man. (It wouldn't be Metta if it wasn't at least a little bit weird.)
And if we can read anything into a title like "Mud in My Bed," it's probably also at least a little bit goofy, like World Peace's visit to "Yo Gabba Gabba!" or his "Sesame Street"-inspired sartorial choices when holding court with the LAPD. That's OK, though. A little bit of whimsy can help make big ideas easier for kids to swallow and maybe even sell a few more copies of the book, which would offer a nice boost to a pair of World Peace-helmed charitable efforts — Xcel University and The Artest Foundation — that will each receive a portion of the proceeds from the book's sales.
World Peace joins the ranks of NBA players past and present who've penned books for kids, a list of notables that includes Chris Paul, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Amar'e Stoudemire, Adonal Foyle and Dennis Rodman. If you'll excuse me, I'll be over here daydreaming about what a writer's retreat with those six player/authors aimed at collaborative creation would be like, and what kind of book would result. It'd probably put Matt Christopher's entire oeuvre to shame.