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So Much for World Peace

Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

World Peace is something that we all envision happening, but is certainly an unrealistic possibility.  Ron Artest who changed his name to Metta World Peace last year, has always been a clown and has had difficulty staying out of trouble.  The Los Angeles Lakers have been fortunate up until now because World Peace has played solid and been relatively trouble free during his tenure with the team.

This changed yesterday in the teams’s double overtime victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.  World Peace struck Oklahoma City’s James Harden in the head with his elbow with 1:37 remaining in the 2nd quarter.  Peace was celebrating a dunk by pounding his chest with his right fist and swung his left elbow hitting Harden right below his left ear.

Harden fell to the court in obvious pain, and had to leave the game for evaluation.  He returned in the second half but then went back to the locker room where it was determined that he had suffered a concussion.  World Peace said he was simply celebrating the dunk and did not intentionally hit Harden in the head with his elbow.  The problem here is that it sure looked intentional and it is hard to believe that World Peace inadvertently hit Harden in the head.

It would have been understandable had this happened while the two were going up for a rebound or if Peace was contesting a shot, but the manner in which it occured makes it hard to buy Peace’s claim of innocence.  World Peace is no stranger to trouble as he was involved in the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl in 2004.  The brawl involved Artest, Jermaine O’neil, Stephen Jackson, Ben Wallace and a couple of fans as well.  World Peace was handed down the longest suspension for an on the court incident in NBA history as he missed 86 games.

This incident couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Lakers as they just came off a huge come from behind victory against west powerhouse Oklahoma City.  The team is attempting to secure the number 3 seed in the playoffs and win the Pacific division.  The Lakers desperately need World Peace heading into the post season, especially for his defensive presence.

What World Peace did was wrong and he could have seriously injured Harden.  NBA commissioner David Stern will most certainly hand down a hefty fine and suspend Peace for the incident.  Peace should receive a long suspension for his actions for at least the duration of the post season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it would carry over to next season as well.

This was a pathetic display on his part and he needs to learn that his behavior is unacceptable.  Being a great player can be overshadowed by your irresponsible actions on the court.  Will World Peace ever learn to control his emotions and act as though he is trying to actually be peaceful?  Let’s hope so.

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