Sunday, 22 April, 2012: that was the date we saw a return of the old Ron Artest, and a little less of the man who had been renamed Metta World Peace. The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder in a key end of regular season match before the playoffs. The Lakers may have won the match in double-overtime, but they may have lost World Peace for part of the Playoffs.
As you’ll see in the video below, the incident happened after World Peace had made a fast break dunk. As he was beating his chest in celebration, he suddenly struck out with his elbow, violently hitting Thunder guard James Harden in the ear. Some will claim that the elbow was purely accidental and came in the moment of celebration, but I’m sure most sports betting sites will be giving short odds that Ron Ron will be suspended.
Of course, this is not the first time that World Peace/Artest has courted controversy. Many immediately will point to the “Malice at the Palace” incident in Artest’s Indiana Pacer days, where crowd interaction was unfortunately involved. World Peace will tell us that the Detroit episode is in the past, but the reality of this recent situation shows that he can still be a loose cannon, prone to explode at any point. That volatility is also a strength for World Peace, as he intimidates opponents defensively.
Take a look at the video and see what you think:
Will Artest get suspended by the NBA? Almost undoubtedly. Was the elbow (and the failure to turn and check on the welfare of Harden) intentional? You decide.