The incredibly bizarre basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest is the anti-thesis of a peaceful man. Yet in September 2011, Ronald William Artest, Jr. legally changed his name to Metta World Peace. Changing one’s name to adopt the title of Mr. World Peace seems like a very cool and amusing thing to do – and it may well be if it was any one other than the detestable Ron Artest. The egomaniac formerly known as Ron Artest demonstrates an arrogance on and off the basketball court that hardly furthers any notions of world peace.
Ron Artest was at the center of one of the worst player-fan altercations in all of sports history. On November 19, 2004, Artest led his Indian Pacers teammates at the time - Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson – into the stands to attack a few vocal Detroit Pistons fans during a game in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The brawl took place with less than a minute remaining in the Pistons-Pacers game. The NBA suspended Ron Artest for the rest of the regular season plus all of his team’s playoff games making the 86 games missed by belligerent Artest the longest suspension for an on-court incident in NBA history.
Early in the 2005–06 season, Artest requested a trade from the Indiana Pacers and was put on the team's inactive roster. Artest's call for a trade created a rift between him and his teammates and management who expressed sentiments of betrayal and disappointment at Artest’s immature behaviour. Artest eventually joined the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent following stops in Sacramento and Houston.
Artest aka Metta World Peace is back in the news again due to a recent spat of poor sportsmanship and violent on-court antics. During a basketball game on April 22, 2012, Artest delivered a ruthless elbow to the head of Oklahoma City's James Harden. World Peace was suspended for 7 games and missed almost the entire first round of the playoffs.
Mr. World Peace and the Los Angeles Lakers are playing in the Western Conference semifinals against James Harden and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Would Harden get an apology or some kind words from World Peace? Far from it. A few days after his return from suspension, the idiot-now-known-as-Metta-World-Peace proclaimed: “I don't shake substitutes' hands."
Mr. World Peace has never apologized to Harden for the elbow that he delivered to Harden's head last month nor did he ever contact the concussed Harden directly to explain his unprovoked attack on Harden and the subsequent bestial chest-pumping antics of World Peace. The most ridiculous aspect of Artest’s latest affront is the dismissive reference to Harden as being merely a "substitute." Harden won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2012. While Harden may not be on the floor for tip-off, he will invariably be on the court when the final buzzer sounds. As a basketball player, Mr. World Peace quite simply has not made even half of the impact that Harden has this season.
As a human being, World Peace's comments should be seen as a sad commentary on the priorities of a man that believes a name change will erase the Artest legacy of arrogance, unprofessional-ism and unsportsmanlike conduct. Do we really have to cringe every time we hear World Peace in the same sentence as the crude egomaniac formerly known as Ron Artest?