Metta World Peace is one of the most intriguing and fascinating players to play in the NBA. On and off the court the outspoken Los Angeles Lakers forward from Queensbridge, New York often gets himself into trouble. Metta World Peace is well-known for his lengthy suspensions including his role in the malice at the palace but when he focuses on basketball he’s one of the best shut-down defenders in the NBA. Metta World Peace stopped by for a quick interview on a wide range of topics while enjoying part of his off-season in Vancouver, British Columbia.
What brings you to Vancouver?
Metta World Peace: I was doing a couple of castings so I was supposed to come here anyway last summer. I couldn’t make it so I had one of my friends set up some parties and it was perfect timing because I had a three-day movie shoot so I kind of went back and forth to LA but I just wanted to experience the town (Vancouver) because my boy Alex told me I had to come to this city.
What are your impressions of Vancouver?
Metta World Peace: It’s cool, at first I thought it was just grass and maybe a city. Definitely cold, definitely rainy, because Portland and Seattle (also rainy climates) I knew that but I didn’t envision a city like this. It’s real cool.
Vancouver doesn’t have an NBA team anymore are you getting recognized on the street?
Metta World Peace: Yes, especially after I did that weather channel thing. Now everybody’s saying I saw you did the weather. I did that once in LA but other than that people like the Lakers so that helps out a lot too.
You’ve been tweeting about your fondness for Vancouver do you think you would ever move here?
Metta World Peace: Ya, I’m having a lot of fun. I don’t know about moving but the city is dope. I can definitely see myself coming back. It’s just like Hollywood too with a lot of movies. They (Vancouver) probably do the second most movies right now. Big movies are done here… X-Men 3 and a couple other ones. I could see myself being here potentially.
Do you think Vancouver could support another NBA team?
Metta World Peace: Easily, ya.
Do you think it would work out better the second time around?
Metta World Peace: I think so, I think the dollar is up. Before the dollar was down at about 60 cents and now it’s at about 90 something cents. Now is the perfect time for an NBA team to come back to Vancouver. (At the time of this interview the Canadian dollar was at 97.45 US)
Your current team the LA Lakers beat a tough first round opponent in the Denver Nuggets who took the Lakers to game 7. What went wrong in the second round against the Oklahoma City Thunder?
Metta World Peace: They were just better, It was that simple. When you’re playing against a team and they’re better… they’re better. It was their time and a lot of things go into it being somebody’s time. It’s preparation, determination, talent, hard work, coaching, and everything has to fall in place. They did exactly what it takes for it to be their time.
Do you think you could beat them next year if you faced them in the playoffs?
Metta World Peace: I mean we’ve got to do what it takes to be our time and to be ready for when our time comes. If we do what it takes as a team we’re the most talented team in the NBA. We’ve got the best team in the NBA but we’ve got to be the best team.
Will Oklahoma City take down Miami, Do you have any predictions on the NBA finals?
Metta World Peace: I’m a big LeBron James fan and a big Derek Fisher fan so if anyone of those guys win I’ll be very very happy.
You had an incident with James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder where your elbow caught him in the head what happened there?
Metta World Peace: Ya it was in the head you know and it was weird. It was like when you grow up playing basketball where I grew up from well most of the people in the NBA are from the ghettos and the hoods of America but in New York City you don’t see a lot of people make it to the NBA. In New York City, the basketball is real tough and it’s really like no holds barred so that’s why not many people made it because it’s so much grinding that a lot of the players didn’t take the time to kind of have fundamentals. I’m one of the few that made it so what you see in me is you really see the hood. When you see Ron Artest play you see that passion, that hood, and that get up off me type of basketball. It’s something that a lot of people are not use to especially if you’re from the suburbs or if you grew up playing basketball in another country. You won’t be use to playing basketball how it is right here in New York City in the streets. It’s really an intimidating style of basketball.
Have you been in touch and have you spoken to James Harden since the incident?
Metta World Peace: After ya, but not in touch with him. When I’m playing basketball I don’t have friends so if I did accidentally hurt somebody I can’t call them because out in New York City we don’t call our opponent no matter what happens. After the season if were cool will go for ice cream or go out for dinner or whatever. I don’t really have friends during the season. Even like my best friends Elton Brand, and Lamar Odom during the season and during the playoffs I really could care less. Friendships are in Mars until the off-season.
Do you think you were deserving of a seven game suspension?
Metta World Peace: I don’t like to control other people’s opinions and I don’t try to do other people’s jobs for them. If somebody has a job and they can suspended me that’s their job. You’ve got to let them do their job. If somebody has an opinion that’s their opinion. For me I like to live free so I don’t like to worry about other people’s opinions or other people’s job.
With all of your suspensions throughout your career you’ve still managed to play at a very high level do you see yourself or see how others may compare you to this generations Dennis Rodman?
Metta World Peace: Oh ya I could see that, he’s my favourite player anyway. Dennis Rodman is my favourite player and I can relate to him because it’s like you can relate to struggle. He can relate to dysfunction and he can relate to just inconsistent households. I can relate to people like Dennis and I can relate to people like Mike Tyson or some of Americas villains and I still don’t consider myself a villain but people do. I can relate to anybody in those situations. Anytime I see a book like a Dennis Rodman book or the book being about himself, I immediately research it and read the book. I don’t read the cover meaning the media. I read inside the book like how did the person grow up, where did he grow up, was his parents together. Most of the time guys like myself, Dennis Rodman, and Mike Tyson grew up in separated households. Mike Tyson grew up 13 years-old with drugs, robberies, parents separated, and with a sister on drugs. When you see Mike Tyson a guy who made 300 million dollars and you see him and but they put him down you don’t get to see what happened in that whole book.
Are there any other type of players you tried to emulate your game after growing up in Queens?
Metta World Peace: Just like the gangsters, and drug dealers because that’s who taught me how to play. A lot of gangsters and drug dealers taught me how to play the game. I’m not a gangster or a drug dealer but a lot of those people taught me how to play so I owe a lot and I pay a lot of homage to people who taught me how to play and helped me to get where I’m at. During the same time I like to give back and try to lead kids in a different direction you know not being drug dealers or gangsters, and stuff like that.
When you’re on the court who is the toughest player to defend?
Metta World Peace: Nobody.
Not even LeBron James?
Metta World Peace: No. The toughest person for me to defend is myself and when my body hurts I can’t defend like I want to.
You’ve played with five teams in your career is there a particular player you haven’t played with who you would like to play with?
Metta World Peace: Hmmmm… I’d play with Derek Fisher but that’s it.
Would you like to play with Derek Fisher again?
Metta World Peace: He’s not on my team so I could care less. When I’m not on your team I don’t really care about you at all. He’s still one of my favourite players and I’m doing a story about Derek. He’s one of my favourite minds, my hearts, one of my favourite soles, and one of my favourite everything. There are maybe only two people in the world like Derek Fisher. It might be ten in the whole world he’s special but I don’t care who I play with.
You have close to 400,000 followers on twitter why do you interact with your fans as much as you do? Most professionals athletes don’t give two hoots about their fans.
Metta World Peace: You’ve got to, it depends on what you’re trying to do. I do a lot of different things so the fans keep me alive when people talk and the media kills me. When the media kills me the fans back me up and when you got that much support you got to show love. I do a lot of different things outside so I want support from the fans about my jerseys, support my singles on Itunes or come to my comedy shows in LA. They’re supporting what I do and supporting my habits or how I want to live so why not go out and do different things with the fans. They love it. I can’t do it with everybody but I try to pick one every now and then and do something special.
You support a lot of positive interests like PETA and awareness for mental illnesses can you talk a bit about that?
Metta World Peace: Growing up in the city I saw a lot of mental illness. Mental illness don’t mean your crazy it could mean depression or it could be a real mental illness like schizophrenia but it all falls under the same category. You could develop major mental illness from a wound you had as a child or it could be something as simple as depression and then it could grow into something bigger. People only see people at their peak of whatever mental illness they have. I’ve seen people actually grow with their mental illness so with said, it’s important for people to support people in general and definitely their children. A lot of kids are growing up without parents so with all that being seen I thought it was important. That’s why I raffled of my ring (2010 NBA Championship ring) just to let people know that it’s very important. That family structure is very important at the end of the day and I didn’t have a strong family and I saw where it hurt my family so it’s important. Mental illness is major factor in families.
Is there a lot of support for metal heath issues and awareness in the NBA?
Metta World Peace: Ya, the NBA supports that. I don’t get a lot of support because of my image I’m still real hood and real ghetto whatever. I do a lot of good things but you can’t support everything I do. I understand that because I’m definitely a street dude first but at the same time I do it how I do it. I’m not a dude promoting gang things but I’m definitely street first. The first thing I did when I got here was I visited Hastings before I went anywhere else.
The Lakers and the NBA are pretty progressive do you think the NBA is ready for an openly gay player? Would that player be supported in the NBA or on the LA Lakers?
Metta World Peace: If somebody is gay and they want to play basketball they could play. I don’t have anything against it.
Are you saying if they’re a good player they’d be welcomed?
Metta World Peace: They should play. If they gay and want to play basketball they should be able to play basketball. It doesn’t mean just because somebody is gay you got to be gay. I’m not gay I like booty, I like BOOTAY!! Ya if somebody is gay they can be gay. I like female booty make sure you put that in.
What do you see happening with the Lakers next season and what specific changes would you like to see during the off-season?
Metta World Peace: I don’t know it just depends. We’ve got the best team in the NBA so there is really no reason to make changes. We’ve got the best team in the NBA but it’s on us.
It’s been a pleasure interviewing you today. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add?
The Ron and Metta Show podcast - http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ron-and-metta-show/id498657075
You can follow me on twitter: @MettaWorldPeace & @ArtestMediaGrp
A shout out to all the females we love you!!
Thank you very much Metta World Peace it’s been great talking to you
Metta World Peace: Thank you.