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Give Metta World Peace a Chance: The Lakers’ Star 10 Most Controversial Moments

Ron Artest
Harry How, Getty Images

On Sunday, Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace got excited after a dunk and wound up slugging Oklahoma City’s James Harden in the head with a wayward elbow during the Lakers double overtime win.

World Peace, who has a long and colorful history of fines and suspensions, was tossed from the game and is likely to face another suspension from the NBA. Here’s a look back at some of World Peace’s most troubling and bizarre moments over his past decade in the league:

JANUARY 2003

World Peace, then still known as Ron Artest and playing with the Indiana Pacers, got hit with a three-game suspension without pay and was fined $35,000 for throwing a TV monitor and destroying a camera after a game at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The camera was reportedly worth roughly $100,000. ”I can understand where they’re coming from,” Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. “Any time you do something like that, you put yourself in a position where others can control you.”

JANUARY 2003

His “wacky behavior” got the best of him during a game against the Heat when World Peace went off at the opposing players, coaches, fans, and anyone else in his way. ”It’s not uncommon in this league — half of them are taunting all the time, taunting benches, taunting each other, taunting coaches,” Heat coach Pat Riley said. It reached a point where World Peace actually leaned up on Riley, who was forced to push him off and make it clear that he would fight against the players’ antics.

NOVEMBER 2004

The Pacers benched World Peace for two games after he asked coach Rick Carlisle if he could take some time off to, at least in part, promote his rap album. World Peace clarified that he needed a month to recoup from some injuries: ”My body has been aching, I was going to take some time off, and I said it the wrong way.” Some were skeptical about World Peace’s intentions with the request for time away.

NOVEMBER 2004

http://youtu.be/5zgS7AwJCPM

The infamous “Malice at the Palace” brawl left World Peace with plenty of time off after he was suspended for 73 games for his role in inciting violence during a game in Detroit. ”I have total respect for all the players who play the game, and I respect David Stern, but I don’t think that he has been fair with me in this situation,” he said. He apologized, too. Other players were suspended and fined, as well, but it’s World Peace who will forever be most attached to that shameful night.

MAY 2008

After the Pacers shipped him out of town, World Peace found his way back into trouble as he publicly accused his new coach of the Sacramento Kings, Reggie Theus, of deliberately losing. The  27-32 Kings were in the playoff hunt at the time, but World Peace wanted to make clear how he felt about Theus. “I’m glad coach didn’t give up like he did in Miami,” he said. “In Miami we were down 14, (and) he pulled me out. We got down 26, and he put me back in the game.” The comments earned World Peace a $5,000 fine from his team.

NOVEMBER 2009

Word got out that while with the Rockets, World Peace would show up to the team bus in just his boxer shorts. So Jimmy Kimmel, when he had World Peace on his show, intended to find out if the rumor was true. And World Peace stripped down on late-night TV. “From the interview you can tell he is happy to be LA and a happy Artest could be the key to another Lakers’ championship,” said one blogger.

DECEMBER 2009

World Peace opened his mouth again when he shouldn’t have during an interview with the Sporting News when he admitted that he drank alcohol during games while playing for the Bulls. “I used to drink Hennessy… at halftime,” he said. ”I [kept it] in my locker. I’d just walk to the liquor store and get it.” An NBA spokesman responded quickly by saying, “We have no comment and we hope Ron has a successful season” with his new team, the Lakers.

JUNE 2010

After the Lakers took home the NBA championship, World Peace was so ecstatic that he thanked his…shrink. He played well and scored 20 points in the final win. Here’s what he said in a nationally televised interview: “My psychiatrist, she really helped me relax a lot. Thank you so much. It’s so difficult to play…so much commotion going on in the playoffs. She wanted me to relax. Thank you so much. I knocked down that three.” Whatever it is that works for World Peace, he should continue to stick to it.

SEPTEMBER 2010

A Los Angeles police officer pulled World Peace over while the NBA player was riding around in “an oversized go-cart called an Eagle Roadster,” according to reports. No, he wasn’t speeding. The registration on the car had reportedly lapsed. It wasn’t even his car, it turned out, but belonged to someone in Tennessee. The good news is that World Peace donned a helmet to protect himself for his joyride.

DECEMBER 2010

After World Peace finally got his championship ring, he decided soon after that it was time to give it away. A Los Angeles man won the ring in a charity raffle World Peace ran that brought in $500,000. He said that it served as both inspiration and as motivation to go win another title with the Lakers. Stay tuned.

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