Manny Pacquiao has expressed interest in recruiting former NBA All-Star Metta World Peace to the Filipino boxing champion's newest venture -- professional basketball.
Pacquiao has become player/coach of the newly formed Kia Sorentos in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Pacquiao is best known for his boxing career, but he is also a local congressman in the Philippines. He commented on the potential recruitment of World Peace in an interview with The Philippine Star, via ESPN.com: “He’s OK. He’s my friend. We need a good import. If we get him, that would be nice.”
Pacquiao actually met World Peace when the boxer was in Los Angeles in 2009 to fight Miguel Cotto.
Adding a former NBA player like World Peace would certainly grant instant credibility to the new Kia Sorentos. World Peace last played in the NBA in 2013-14 for the New York Knicks and averaged 4.8 points and two rebounds a night in 29 games.
While he certainly didn’t impress on the Knicks in limited time last season, World Peace was best known for his tenacious defense and physical play in his prime. He averaged 1.8 steals a night throughout his career and frequently matched up against the opponent’s most dangerous offensive player.
He could bring some of that tough defense and NBA experience to the Philippines and instantly help Pacquiao’s club. World Peace is currently playing for the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association.
There may be some trouble with this potential pairing though, as James Herbert of CBS Sports pointed out:
World Peace -- or The Panda's Friend, as he'd like to be known now -- signed a contract with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association, so it'd probably be pretty complicated to get him to the PBA. Another roadblock is the fact that the league usually has a height limit on import players, and at 6-foot-7 World Peace might be too tall. The league has not set its limit for this coming season, however.
As for Pacquiao, he is a basketball fan and funded the construction of courts in rural communities in his home province of Sarangani. Venturing into the sport seems like a natural step for someone who is so involved in his native country.