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Metta World Peace Pokes Fun at 'Malice' Incident After Drinks Thrown at Refs

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14:  Metta World Peace #51 of the New York Knicks smiles during the game against the Houston Rockets during a game at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 14, 2013.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

There's a saying in NBA circles that goes something like this: Any Metta World Peace news is good Metta World Peace news.

OK, so that phrase doesn't actually exist in the hoops lexicon, but perhaps it should. When is the last time a World Peace story leaked that wasn't good? On second thought, don't answer that. The artist formerly known as Ron Artest certainly had his share of dark days.

Still, he's managed to live every one of them with a smile—even when it's the worst possible response someone could have. Yet, whenever he's laughing, the rest of us, eventually, follow suit.

Sep 30, 2013; Tarrytown, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (2) laughs after a joke by small forward Metta World Peace (51) during media day at MSG Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Take a particularly ugly incident from the Oklahoma City Thunder's series-clinching 104-98 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, for instance.

With L.A. fighting for its playoff lives, point guard Chris Paul powered his way to the basket and set up an easy dunk for center DeAndre Jordan that would have trimmed the Clippers' deficit to five with 3:35 remaining. Only Jordan's basket was waved off after Paul was hit with an offensive foul for colliding with OKC big man Nick Collison.

On L.A.'s ensuing possession, forward Blake Griffin was whistled for a charge.

A chorus of boo birds erupted from the Staples Center faithful, but those criticisms took a scary turn, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports detailed:

Considering the controversial ending to the Clippers' Game 5 loss, their fans were understandably dismayed at the thought of the officials "robbing" them again.

Booing was an acceptable reaction. Firing drinks at an official, though, crossed a line that should never have to be even drawn.

Thankfully, the situation didn't escalate from there. We've seen this same sort of thing spiral quickly out of control before.

"Two fans don’t represent a fan base, but when this happens in certain markets – ahem, Detroit – it gets blown up into something big," NBC Sports' Dan Feldman noted.

AUBURN HILLS, MI - NOVEMBER 19:  Ben Wallace #3 of the Detroit Pistons and teammates are kept apart from Ron Artest #91 of the Indiana Pacers by Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle and official Tommy Nunez Jr. on November 19, 2004 during their game at the Pal
Allen Einstein/Getty Images

Which brings us back to the polarizing player that is (was?) Metta World Peace. It was a thrown beverage that sent World Peace sprinting through the Palace of Auburn Hills' stands on Nov. 19, 2004, sparking a vicious fight between players and fans since dubbed "The Malice at the Palace."

Leave it to World Peace to turn an incident as ugly as that was into a joke nearly 10 years later:

World Peace is just wired differently than the rest of us. His approach could be scary or even, at times, downright dangerous, yet there was something oddly refreshing with his unfiltered perspective.

He decked former Thunder guard James Harden with an elbow to the head in 2012, then later explained it was simply "bad timing for me and then, physically, it was bad timing for Mr. Harden," via Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles.

After the melee in Motown, World Peace asked former teammate Jamaal Tinsley, "Do you think we're going to get in trouble," Stephen Jackson said during an appearance on ESPN's Highly Questionable.

There is no World Peace logic to follow, and you'd only confuse yourself if you tried. But his unique look on life has always been entertaining to hear.

Luckily, the scene at Staples Center never reached a boiling point. Those are often unavoidable in the best World Peace stories—the only kind of World Peace stories there are.

 

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