The Good, Bad and Absurd Moments of Metta World Peace's LA Lakers Tenure
Metta World Peace has played in his last game with the Los Angeles Lakers, who will use their amnesty provision on the forward according to the Orange Country Register's Kevin Ding, ending a magnificent, absurd stretch in Lakers history.
The Lakers will save nearly $30 million in salary and luxury tax payments, which seems beneficial during a season in which the Lakers seem extremely unlikely to contend for a title, or even a playoff spot.
World Peace's last game with the Lakers was a 17-minute night against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs. Cut short due to a balky knee, World Peace went scoreless and otherwise notched just a single assist.
So ends the four-year stretch of perhaps the strangest player ever to don a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.
In order to commemorate his stretch with Los Angeles, during which time the Lakers brought home an NBA championship, let's take a look back at the greatest moments in World Peace's time with the Lakers.
Obviously, the first thing we're going to have to mention is the Game 7 three-pointer that World Peace (then Ron Artest) nailed to all but seal the game against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals.
However, before we get to that point, let's revive the memory of just a few weeks before, when World Peace gave the Lakers a Game 5 win over the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals.
Kobe Bryant barely nicked the rim on a tightly contested three-pointer from the corner, but Artest was there to gather it in and put back the game-winner.
A few weeks later, Artest was the hero yet again, knocking down an ill-advised three-pointer that took the air out of Staples Center and then blew the roof off.
It was the biggest moment of the man's career and seemingly redemption for the mistakes he made while a part of the Indiana Pacers.
The postgame press conference sealed the perfect moment for the sudden NBA champion. He gave one of the most entertaining, heartfelt interviews we've ever witnessed. And yes, I'm assuming he made it to the club afterward.
Over the course of the rest of his career, there were some classic moments, namely the name change to Metta World Peace, his various attempts at becoming a weatherman and his victory in the Yo Gabba Gabba! Olympics.
Of course, everybody knows that with the good, Metta brings plenty of bad.
When strictly talking about his four seasons with the Lakers, there are three distinct moments that stick out above the rest.
First, his single "Champion" that came out following Los Angeles' 2010 NBA championship.
It's as bad as his album was, only it's a tad less serious. I'm not going to embed it here, because odds are you don't want to hear it. If you really do, go over to Youtube and check it out, but say I didn't warn you.
The next big incident came a few years later, well into his "MWP" days.
With just one game left to play in the 2012 season, World Peace landed a seven-game suspension after delivering a vicious elbow to James Harden's noggin.
It was a curt reminder that he was still the man we remembered rushing into the stands and slugging a few fans back in 2004.
His last big hurrah for World Peace was during a midseason game against the Detroit Pistons in 2013. After getting tangled up with Brandon Knight, World Peace grabbed him around the head and delivered a sneaky little jab to his chin.
He's always going to be five seconds away from bursting, but at least the outbursts were fewer and farther between during his Laker days.
If changing your name to Metta World Peace isn't absurd enough, then the rest of his career is definitely enough to push him over the top.
His biggest example came following the 2010 championship, giving credit to his doctors for helping him win a title.
It was definitely a cool gesture, and a brave confession in front of millions of people, but it was certainly out of the ordinary.
Every bit of Artest's day-to-day behavior became bizarre over time, from his Twitter account, showing up to host comedy shows (and getting quite the reception in the process), his ridiculous hair and picking No. 37 in honor of the 37 weeks that Michael Jackson's Thriller spent at the top of the charts.
However, the most improbably absurd moment of World Peace's tenure in Los Angeles came near the end of his days.
That stretch personified who World Peace was as a player in his days with the Lakers: determined, somewhat delusional, completely weird, but dedicated to give whatever possible to his team and, more importantly, the fans.
He was the perfect balance of silliness next to Kobe Bryant's seriousness for four seasons, and he'll definitely be missed.
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