Metta World Peace, the player formerly known as Ron Artest, is in a place he knows all too well. With everyone wanting to see him suspended for a very long time for his hit on James Harden during the Lakers’ win over the Thunder on Sunday night.
What is the punishment he deserves? I guess it all comes down to shock and awe, track record and above all, what David Stern feels like doing. Because Metta World Peace has been a model citizen and player, in terms of his behavior at least, not his basketball production, in recent times. One ejection this season, not for something violent or too outrageous. Almost treated like a clean slate, right?
Well, wrong. The Malice in the Palace, which seems light years away, is always there, waiting to erupt. At least that’s what some people feel when looking at MWP, only seeing Ron Artest waiting to come outside. Forgetting about his title with the Lakers and everything he’s done outside the NBA courts over the last few years.
One suggestion regarding the length of his suspension is to see when James Harden comes back to play. He has not yet been cleared to play. We probably won’t see him before the post season begins, as the Spurs have already sealed the top spot in the West and the Lakers can’t knock the Thunder off second.
It would be a reasonable suggestion only if Harden was out for the rest of the playoffs. A fair (which doesn’t always happen) punishment would be to leave World Peace out of the playoffs as well. An eye for an eye, just like biblical times. But it’s about numbers. Like 5, 10, 15. World Peace will get something along these lines.
Maybe just call it by series. Say, MWP can’t play in the first round series and so on and so on. Unlike the hits Lakers players dished out on Barea and others when they were humiliated by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 playoffs, his exclusion will matter. Last Spring it was already over for the Lakers.
Does sorry come into the formula here? I don’t think it should. Clearly when the footage shows that there was nothing accidental about what World Peace was doing. He may not have been thinking and not even trying to injure Harden, but there was no mistake and accident about that flying elbow. People can go to jail for less if this wasn’t in the confinements of a sport event.
If there’s something David Stern hates is the NBA’s image tarnished, when it’s not done by him. Knowing Stern has at least a bit of vindictive streak in him and a long, elephant like memory, don’t be surprised by anything when the severity of Metta World Peace’s punishment is announced.