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“If I could do it over, I'd probably wanna play like that” — Metta Sandiford-Artest would fashion his game to be like Kawhi Leonard

According to the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, if he had the chance to do it all again, he would’ve given more emphasis to his offense and become an all-around threat such as Kawhi Leonard.
New York Knicks forward Metta World Peace and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard and Metta Sandiford-Artest (then Metta World Peace)

Metta Sandiford-Artest, formerly Metta World Peace and Ron Artest, is living proof that an NBA player has to delight the fans with incredible scoring to become a superstar. And his one-time NBA All-Star appearance can back it up.

Sandiford-Artest was one of the greatest defenders in the history of the game, and most fans know him as the defensive specialist on Kobe’s Lakers. Many have already forgotten that Metta was once a reliable scorer, having logged a career-best 24.6 points per outing during the 2004/05 season with the Indiana Pacers.

Barring the troubles with the officials and the suspensions, Sandiford-Artest pretty much had an awesome career. However, he admitted that he would’ve done it another way if given a chance.

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Metta would’ve changed something in his game

In a rare interview with EsNews last month, Sandiford-Artest was asked who he thinks is the player who is closest to his unconventional style of playing. As expected, Sandiford-Artest did not answer it as it is; instead, he “reversed” it and named the player he wanted to be.

According to the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, if he had the chance to do it all again, he would’ve given more emphasis to his offense and become an all-around threat such as Kawhi Leonard.

Let me reverse that for you… Let me tell you who I like to be most, who I like to be like. I would have like to play like Kawhi,” Sandiford-Artest said. “I think LeBron also. I think he has defense and offense but he has more offense because he has to… But probably Kawhi is someone that I [like to be the most]. If I could do it over, I probably would like to play like that.

Good with his legacy

Whether it’s Ron Artest, Metta World Peace, The Panda’s Friend, or Metta Sandiford-Artest, one thing certain is that we all remember the man for his lockdown defense. And while he would want to modify a few things in his game if possible, Sandiford-Artest is totally fine with his legacy.

I would say I could guard anybody,” he told the outlet in February. “I felt I was the best defender; I always felt like my defense was better than people’s offense. No matter who I was up against, my job that night was to be better than you on defense. That’s how I thought about my game.

Because of his crazy actions over the years, it’s hard to argue that some of us remember Artest for his wild antics. However, we should all agree that he was also a phenomenal athlete and basketball player.

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