The Malice at the Palace
The 2004 melee involving the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons, and Pistons fans incurred the most suspensions—nine players, 146 games—of any incident in NBA history. It all started when a fan threw a drink at the player then known as Ron Artest, who was lying on the scorer’s table after a scuffle on the court. The Pacers’ small forward leaped into the stands and started swinging—and then all hell broke loose. Artest was suspended for 86 total games and lost almost $7 million in salary.
World Peace Thanks Jesus for His Teeth
In what might be the best interview response ever, in 2011 the king of the non sequitur dons the mantle of religious philosopher, praising the “really brilliant” Jesus Christ for the fact that we lose our baby teeth when we’re, well, babies. “What if you kept your baby teeth until the age of 18 or 20 and then you lose them?” World Peace wonders. “That would look pretty bad.”
Win Championship, Thank Psychiatrist
Forget teammates, hard work, God. When Artest won his first title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, he first thanked “everybody in my ’hood” and soon moved on to his psychiatrist. While the comment may have confirmed for some that he really is nuts, it also helped bring wider awareness to mental illness, and Artest/World Peace has became an outspoken champion for mental health.
World Peace, the Rapper
Artest’s hip-hop single “Champions” may have achieved a cult following, but the unknown song “Workout” has the far better video. With lyrics like “I ain’t got no swag/I just like to work out, smelling so bad” and footage of Artest pumping iron on the beach surrounded by bikini-clad “honeys,” we can’t imagine why it wasn’t a critical success.
Leave it to Ron Artest to show up to a late-night talk-show appearance wearing nothing but his boxers. Jimmy Kimmel was shocked and definitely not displeased to see the nearly naked and very buff Lakers players take the seat next to him. Artest also had Kimmel’s name shaved into his head, and he claimed that he wanted to “hoodalize the show.”
Murder on the Court
Storytime with MettaRon is a mixed bag. “I’m accustomed to playing basketball really rough,” said Artest after he was ejected in a 2009 playoff loss. The example he used to illustrate the point? While he was growing up in the projects in Queens, New York, a friend was fatally stabbed with a broken-off table leg in a pickup game gone ugly.
In September 2010, Artest was pulled over while driving a red race car through the streets of Los Angeles. Don’t worry, the cop wasn’t mad about the absurdly cool vehicle; it’s just that the registration was expired.