“World Peace is on his way to the Laker locker room, we’ll see if there are any issues with him.” — TNT Announcer Kevin Harlan said this last night about halfway through the 4th quarter of an Oklahoma City blowout in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. He either didn't realize what he was saying or he's been oblivious to the last 10 years.
In September 2011, right before appearing on Dancing with the Stars, Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace ("Metta" a Buddhist word meaning "loving kindness and friendliness toward others." "World Peace" an English word meaning "World Peace.") This was especially strange because, up until that point, Artest ("artest" – an exam a person has to pass before becoming a pirate) was best known as the man responsible for the biggest brawl in NBA history. When most of my friends heard about the name change, they all basically said the same thing: "It makes no sense for the guy who initiated The Malice at the Palace to change his name to World Peace." My Dad, a guy who has only a casual interest in sports said, "That's a crazy thing to do" and my mom asked, "Did you hear there's a guy named Metta World Peace on Dancing with the Stars? Seems nice, but he's a sucky dancer."
They're all correct…well, except for my Dad, who's only half right. Ron Arrrrtest (get it?) does not do crazy things. He does things that are normal for a crazy person. Saying that he "does crazy things" would mean that he spends most of his time being a normal person and the crazy things that he does are lapses in judgment. But I don't think that's the case. He's a person who is capable of doing normal things, but only during the brief periods of time when he can bury the crazy. Usually he's able to do this for the two and half hours it takes to play a basketball game. But sometimes that crazy is able to dig itself out of the 6-foot hole it's in and peak its little head out.
This doesn't mean he's a bad person. I think my mom is right and my friends are right. He's a nice person (and a sucky dancer) who does things that don't make any sense to most of society. He's "crazy" to all of us, because he does things that normal people don't do. Yes, it's cliché', but most people who accomplish great things are crazy to everyone else. People thought Christopher Columbus was crazy for believing the world was round, that Steve Jobs was crazy for believing thousands of songs could fit into something the size of a matchbox and that Doc Brown was crazy for believing that time travel was possible (OK, that one's a fictional character, but so is Metta World Peace, basically)
Crazy can be a dismissive word, but I'm using it to celebrate Ron ("Ron" meaning "teacher" or "king" which technically makes him more of a King than LeBron James). He's done some unbelievable things and has made himself into the Chuck Norris/Tim Tebow of crazy. You can say anything that seems crazy, attribute it to Artest, and people will believe it. So, as a tribute — and to promote — World Peace, I'm going to list one real thing Artest has done with something I made up and you have to guess which is real and which is fake:
1. A) Is the sole host and only person who ever appears on a podcast called "The Ron and Metta Show"
B) Has a podcast called "Ron Artest wants World Peace" where he talks about what U.S. citizens can do to end the war in Sudan
2. A) He lit a joint while doing a post game interview after hitting the winning shot in a high school state tournament game
B) He would drink Hennessy during halftime of games while he played with the Chicago Bulls
3. A) Finished in last place on a reality show called "Dancing with Stars"
B) Finished in first place on a reality show called "Fighting with the Fans"
4. A) During his rookie season in Chicago he applied for a job at Circuit City to get an employee discount
B) During his freshman year at St. John's he missed the first round of the Big East Tournament because he lost track of time playing "Blade Runner"
5. A) Missed 4 games of the 07-08 season with the Sacramento Kings with a concussion after hitting his head while performing on stage with En Vogue
B) Asked for a month off from the Pacers because he was tired from promoting an R&B album for the music group Allure
6. A) Calls Bill Walton "Dad"
B) Calls Justin Beiber "son"
7. A) While suspended during the 2004 season, Artest, wearing a Dennis Rodman jersey, attended a Toronto Maple Leafs game
B) In 2010, there was an art show in Toronto, ON featuring the work of over 30 artists all inspired by Ron Artest, called Lovable Badass.
8. A) Attended an Indiana Pacers practice in a bathrobe
B) Attended the premiere for "The Hangover 2" in a Lakers jersey that said "Galifianakis" on the back and front
9. A) After being traded to the Houston Rockets, he rode a bull at a rodeo in El Paso
B) After being signed by the Lakers, he played Monopoly with a group of fans at the beach
10. A) Thanked his psychiatrist in a post NBA Finals Interview
B) Thanked Jesus for losing baby teeth when he was a baby and not as an adult (these are actually both true)
11. A) Did an interview on Jimmy Kimmel while he was shirtless
B) Did an interview on Larry King while Larry King was pants-less
12. A) Played with the Panda Express restaurant team in a kickball league
B) Played with the Zankou Chicken Restaurant team in a dodgeball league
13. A) Got a traffic ticket for driving a race car down the street
B) Started a 4-car wreck in an Indy 500 qualifying race while driving the pace car
14. A) Chose the #37 for the Lakers to honor Michael Jackson, whose record "Thriller" was #1 on the charts for 37 weeks
B) Chose the #37 for the Lakers to honor the number of criminal charges he faced inciting the "Malice at the Palace"
15. A) He's still friends with the guy who hit him with the beer that sparked the brawl in Detroit and talks to him all the time.
B) No seriously, he's still friends with the guy who hit him with a beer that sparked the brawl in Detroit and talks to him all the time!
A, B, A, A, B, A, B, A, B, Both, A, B, A, A, Both
Chris Burns is a comedian, writer and producer based in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter @chrisburns to get show updates and weird jokes
Fan Hub Action
Marcy Kelly June 12th
Wow! I must have listened to a completely differnt press conference. Oh, wait- you convinently left off all of the good things they just got…
Nathan Devine June 5th
The dude is nasty. The fastball is REAL heavy at 97-100. Steady improvement every year.
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
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