Metta World Peace is gone.
There were a lot of memories along the way, some highs and some lows.
MWP hit the three-pointer that put up L.A. up six with a minute left in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, delivered one of the most blatant fouls of the last decade, didn’t know that Dwight Howard went to the Houston Rockets over the summer, threw Trevor Ariza’s shoe into the stands, put out rap songs and openly talked about crying with his therapist.
But all in all, World Peace had fun.
During his time as a Laker, MWP averaged 9.9 points, four rebounds and two assists per game. After Peace's big three-pointer, the Lakers went on to beat the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, and Los Angeles never missed the playoffs with World Peace/Ron Artest on the roster.
(Side note: he was known as Ron Artest up until just before the 2011 season, when his name was officially changed to Metta World Peace. Rumor has it another name change is in the making, according to NBC.)
The Lakers used the amnesty clause on World Peace over the summer in order to clear out cap space to sign players like Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman and Nick Young. After a lot of deliberation—and bold claims that he was going to retire or play professionally in China—MWP was picked up by the Knicks, his first choice all along after getting amnestied.
Despite his occasionally erratic shooting, World Peace was a defensive stopper and did whatever he could to help the Lakers win.
After being a fan favorite for four seasons, it’s time to reflect on what Laker Nation will miss most about Metta World Peace.
The first thing that fans Lakers fans will miss about Metta will be his twitter account.
Although they’ll still be able to follow him, posts about Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers will likely be no more.
Instead of tweets like this one, which places Robert Horry at the top of MWP’s list of greatest players ever, fans can look forward to posts pertaining to his new team. In one of his latest posts, World Peace toys with the idea of dying his hair with J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
I wouldn’t "unfollow" him, though, because every now and then he posts a gem. His analysis of the 2013 NBA Finals, in which he compared the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs to burger joints, ranks pretty high among his all-time tweets.
Although downright weird online (sometimes), World Peace is one of the most interesting personalities in the NBA.
He’s gotten over his rocky past—“Malice at the Palace”—through therapy and self-improvement.
MWP is a rapper, a children’s author and an involved member of the community (one who focuses on mental health and awareness).
Right now, the Lakers are pretty boring. World Peace could walk in and give the media all kinds of things to run with. Does the team have anyone capable of filling that locker room role? Chris Kaman has the potential to be pretty entertaining, but he's no Metta.
There was never a dull moment if World Peace was in the room, and that spark is something that the current Lakers roster is devoid of—outside of the Black Mamba, of course.
Los Angeles will miss World Peace on the court, too.
At 33 years old, he remains one of the premier overall defenders in the league. In 2013, World Peace held opponents to 37.3 percent shooting in isolation situations and just 23.1 percent from beyond the arc, as per Synergy Sports.
Without him on the roster, L.A. will be hard-pressed to find a player who can provide the kind of defense that World Peace offered in his four years with the team. Wesley Johnson has potential, but he has a long way to go before he reaches MWP’s level of defensive prowess.
After struggling with personal issues for his entire life, World Peace was a huge part of the Los Angeles community, and won several awards for his community service.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) honored Metta World Peace of the Los Angeles Lakers with a Special Recognition Award at the 2012 Voice Awards for his work to raise awareness about mental health issues and for his financial support of charities that provide mental health awareness and treatment services for children. (via the Limelight Mental Health)
The Los Angeles Daily News shed some much-needed light on things that World Peace has done in the past but for which he hasn't received enough credit.
World Peace was just presented with the prestigious Ci Care Award, an honor for someone who fulfills the hospital's vision of "healing humankind, one patient at a time, by improving health, alleviating suffering and delivering acts of kindness."It's an honor never previously given to anyone outside the UCLA health system.
If you don't think this kind of award means more than championship rings, then you don't know the story of how he gave his champion ring to an auction so that money raised could benefit the mental health community.
If you don't think talking to people about mental health issues and sharing his story—being part of a family with issues of depression, schizophrenia, anger, abuse and jail time—then you don't know that after the Lakers won the NBA Finals in 2010, World Peace said on camera: "I'd like to thank my psychiatrist."
On behalf of all those who benefited from his good deeds in L.A., I'd like to say thank you, Metta World Peace.
Despite all of the obstacles the Lakers faced this past season, Metta World Peace never stopped fighting. He gave his team a steady 12 points per game along with five boards He never complained and always remained positive.
He never threw in the towel, evident by the 75 games and the 34 minutes per night he gave his Laker team.
Kobe Bryant—and presumably the rest of the roster—wanted to keep him (via CBS Sports) but amnestying World Peace was a move that the team had to make in order to start building towards the future.
For Laker fans, it’s a shame that he’s gone, but the memories that World Peace made in four years while wearing purple and gold will never be forgotten.