The NBA All-Star took to WFAN, expressing his regret that he was unable to spend the prime of his basketball career with the New York Knicks.
Regret and the New York Knicks go hand-in-hand. Metta World Peace combined the two in a rare positive light.
Speaking on Boomer & Gio, WFAN’s morning show, World Peace looked back on a lengthy NBA career while promoting the documentary Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story, which debuted on Showtime on Friday night.
World Peace spent 12 years in the NBA under his birth name Ron Artest before legally changing his name in 2012. He’d go on to spend five more seasons in the Association, including one with the Knicks.
A stop in Manhattan served as a homecoming for the Queens native. He spent two prior seasons at Madison Square Garden as a member of the St. John’s Red Storm. The 1999 NBA Draft saw World Peace chosen 16th by Chicago. His most prominent tenures came in Indiana (2002-06) and Los Angeles (2009-13 and 2015-17). He won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004 and won an NBA title in 2010.
In between those stretches with the Lakers, World Peace signed a two-year deal with the Knicks in July 2013. By then, he was a shade of his former self, averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds over 29 games. The Knicks waived him in February 2014, leading to a brief sabbatical in international play. He rejoined the Lakers in 2015 before retiring two years later.
Speaking with hosts Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, World Peace wished the best years of his career with the Knicks.
“I felt like it was a missed opportunity for both parties,” he said. “Just imagine 23-year-old Ron Artest in New York City. I was in my prime, on my way, I was an All-Star. And New York is about defense, and I play defense (and) I’m from New York City.”
World Peace further stated that “orange and blue is in my blood”.
A “23-year-old Artest” was entering the prime of his career with the Pacers in 2003. Over the ensuing 03-04 campaign, he averaged 18.3 points and was named to the All-NBA Third Team to compliment his defensive honor. He was also named to the 2004 All-Star Game roster in Los Angeles. Indiana won a franchise record 61 games.
However, World Peace’s career was defined by an embarrassing incident in the following season. His antics in November 2004 game against Detroit sparked the infamous “Malice at the Palace”, which began when a Pistons fan threw a cup of beer at World Peace. The small forward ran into the Palace at Auburn Hills’ stands and fought several fans before being restrained and force off the court in the ensuing contest.
World Peace was suspended for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. At 86 games, it became the longest suspension for an on-court incident in NBA history.
World Peace still thinks about the infamous brawl to this day.
“That night was crazy. When I look back at it, I do blame some people for that event,” he said. “There were a lot of frustrating moments at that time where I felt I took the bulk of it and I’m fine with that. I’m really fine with taking the bulk of the blame, I’ve been doing that all my life. There were things that happened that could’ve been different. The suspension was harsh. I don’t know what’s happening at the front office behind closed doors. You can justify because I was getting in trouble already. I led the league in techs and flagrants my whole career.”
Quiet Storm is directed by New York City native Johnny Sweet, who previously directed the documentary Vick for Bleacher Report. It can be viewed on the Showtime Anytime app.