Metta World Peace is not the name that this NBA player’s parents gave him. His real name was Ronald William Artest Jr., named after his father. Artest was born on November 13, 1979 and grew up in Queensbridge, New York. He lived with his parents, his siblings, and many other family members in a house not big enough for all of them. He grew up in an unconsistant environment, with hard times of poverty and a fear of the violence all around him. Artest also grew up constantly seeing his father and mother fighting and his dad hitting his mother. Money was extremely tight, and Artest never had any control over anything.
When Ron Artest was 7 years old he began to inherit that “Artest temper” as his father called it, and this was around the time his parent’s marriage began to fall apart. Artest lashed out in school hitting kids that would tease him. By the time he was 8 his parents put him in anger management therapy. The therapist suggested Artest take up basketball so that is just what he did. His father helped him by practicing with him, but also used it as an opertunity to toughen Ron up. Ron’s father played rough with him on the court, fouling him and knocking him down.
Basketball gave Ron something to do and turn to when things got hard. It was the one thing he felt in contol of, but it did not take him away from the fighting. In the projects basketball was a very rough game full of hard fouls and fistfights. In 1991 Ron watched as a childhood friend was stabbed through the heart with a chair leg as a result from a basketball game fight. This happened during the championship game of a Y.M.C.A.-sponsored tournament. “One of my friends was playing … and it was so competitive they broke a piece of leg from a table and they threw it and it went right through his heart and he died, right on the court,” Ron said.
Then in 1992 his parents separated, and in 1995 his 10-week-old little sister died of SIDS. This did not help with Artest’s temper. Ron’s father said, “A lot of Ron’s anger came from the breakup of the family.”
Artest continued to turn to basketball. He played for his school and in tournaments. During an AAU tournament Coach Fran Fraschilla with St. Johns University recruited Ron Artest. It was Artest’s aggressive style of play that caught the coach’s eye. The coach believed that Artest would be perfect for the rugged St. John’s team. Coach Fraschilla loved Artest’s aggressive temper so much that he would rile him up before games by taunting him. Coach would also demote him to the second team just to make Artest angry. Coach Fraschilla believed that Ron Artest played the way he did because he had a fear of failing. Fraschilla said, “He has a tremendous fear of failure. He worries that he’ll have to go back to Queensbridge.” A while later coach Fran Fraschilla was fired because of his own temperament.
In 1999 Ron Artest went to the pros to play for the Chicago Bulls. He was a Bull for 3 seasons, then was with the Indiana Pacers for 5 seasons. In 2005 Artest played 2 seasons in Sacramento, and then moved on to Houston for 1. The Lakers got Ron Artest in 2009, which is where he currently is playing today.
Ron Artest makes lots of money in the pros, but has never forgotten where he came from. Artest, even now, continues to give to charity and provides for many programs and extra-curricular activities for the children in Queensbridge, NY. Ron Artest has given lots to others whether it be time or money, but is known as one of the worst players in the NBA for his temperament.
During Artest’s NBA career he has been suspended 13 times. Wow! That is a lot. The most memorable suspension was for 86 games, which was a result from the brawl that broke during a game in 2004 while he was playing for Indiana. During a game against Detroit, in Detroit, the players from both teams got into a fight. Then the fight moved into the stands and Artest punched fans. This outburst was the ugliest thing I have ever seen, not only of the players but the fans as well.
This was the best video I could find of the fight, but it does not show one moment when Artest punches a fan right in the face that had approached him. To see that click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuJlhNzVC4Q
Ron Artest did many things that got him suspended even after this incident. One, not even a year ago, was during the playoffs last summer in game 2 Lakers vs Mavericks. Another dirty play by Ron Artest.
On September 16, 2011 Ron Artest decided to change his name to Metta World Peace to honor world peace. It is just too bad he was not able to change completely as a person as well. World Peace still has his moments that remind everyone who he used to be, or still is.
On Sunday April 22, 2012 the LA Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder in their second to last game of the season. The Lakers won 114 – 106, but the real story was Metta World Peace’s ejection for throwing his elbow. World Peace, after a great drive and dunk, celebrate a bit too much and viciously elbowed OKC’s James Harden in the head. The hit was so hard that it gave Harden a concussion. After the hit Ibaka approached World Peace and it almost looked like another fight would breakout. Ibaka said, “I saw it happen and it was a very hard hit. That’s the first I’ve seen anything like that happen live. I was surprised. I went up to him to ask him why he did that and he wanted to fight me too. I don’t know what he was thinking. I have no idea.” When the game was over World Peace said, “During that play I just dunked on Durant and Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow.”
After World Peace got home he watched the replay and immediately tweeted, “I just watched the replay again… Ooo… My celebration of the dunk really was too much. Didn’t even see James ….. Omg… Looks bad.” I agree. It does look really bad. I do not understand how someone could do that to another player. Yet again Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) commits another aggressive, uncalled for play. When I first saw this video I believed it was intentional. I thought it was disgraceful, uncalled for, dirty, and everything wrong. How could you not see someone right there? I still believe all of these things, but see it a little differently when I take into consideration World Peace’s background. Yes, I believe this was intentional, but I also believe that he was just celebrating and was not thinking clearly. Maybe in that moment when they bumped into each other he referred back to the way he was taught to play basketball for many years. But on the other hand that was years ago and he needs to learn to control himself.
Metta World Peace was suspended for 7 games without pay for elbowing James Harden. I feel that it should have been 10 or more. Ron Artest father once said, “I always though Ron’s temper would be his downfall in life.”