By Andrew J. Barnes ’12
It is hard to believe that Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, will be able to play for the Lakers in their Western Conference Semifinals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA for his vicious elbow to the head of Thunder guard James Harden the last time the two teams met April 22.
After what World Peace has done in his past prior the hit on Harden, I think it’s ludicrous that he’s still able to play at all during the rest of the playoffs.
He was suspended for six games of the first round, but I don’t think that was enough after the monstrous hit he gave to Harden.
It is nearly impossible to forget the “Malice at the Palace” that took place in 2004 between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, in which Artest ran into the stands, punched fans and would not budge from his violent behavior.
For his violent actions in that debacle, he was suspended for the rest of the season and ended up missing 86 games, including the playoffs.
When he returned for the start of the 2005-06 NBA season, there were doubters who thought it wouldn’t be long before he had another one of his outbursts on the court that would get him suspended yet again, or perhaps banned from the league.
However, in recent years he has maintained very good behavior on and off the court.
Last year he won the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, which is given for great service and dedication to the overall community.
He even changed his name legally last September to “Metta World Peace,” with “Metta” meaning “good will and non-violence.”
Of course, it is rather unfortunate that he has this name but seems to have forgotten the true intent of it after his brutal elbow to James Harden’s head.
Even after his attempt to change into a better person, I don’t believe that condones the elbow that he threw whatsoever.
If Harden’s head had been tilted a few more inches, he could have suffered an even greater injury than the concussion he actually got.
It could have ended his career.
There is no place in the NBA or any sport for violence, especially blows to the head.
Millions of people saw the violent hit, including kids at home watching the game on television.
I don’t think the NBA wants their younger fans being exposed to nasty hits like the one World Peace delivered.
It’s for these reasons, along with World Peace’s history of offenses, that he should have been suspended for the entire playoffs.
The Lakers and the Thunder are bound to give NBA fans a great playoff series, but it’s rather unfortunate that World Peace gets to take part it in it.
Shield your head, James Harden. It could get ugly.