In a prestigious league such as the NBA, it's only fitting that the best players acknowledge the qualities of their peers. The same principle applies to legends and the younger generation of NBA stars.
In the past, we've seen and heard Michael Jordan and LeBron James laud their fellow NBA greats, and there is an array of them out there. However, many may not know this, but apparently, MJ and "King James" also praised Metta World Peace at one point.
Chuck was not convinced
Apart from starring in the infamous "Malice at the Palace" brawl, Metta Sandiford-Artest was indeed one heck of a player at one point. He was a reliable scorer and arguably the best one-on-one defender in the mid-2000s. All told, it shouldn't be much of a surprise if Jordan and LeBron noticed his game back then.
According to Metta Sandiford-Artest, MJ said sometime in 2002 that he was "his favorite player," and before he left the Indiana Pacers for the Sacramento Kings, James said he was "happy he left the East." In all fairness, it sounded real. But not for Sir Charles.
"Michael Jordan said I was his favorite player in 2002? I could find it online. I said that on TV one time, and Charles Barkley was like, 'Michael Jordan didn't say that about you. Michael Jordan's gonna say you're his favorite player?' The motherf***er said it, man… Right before I got traded from Indiana, LeBron James said, 'I'm happy Ron Artest left the east.' You can't put that on the trophy… Charles Barkley said, 'Man why would LeBron say that? Man, you can't show somebody you're scared.' I was like, 'Barkley, he's just giving respect, man'," World Peace told GQ in 2019.
Metta is already a Hall of Famer
If we look at Metta's resume, Ron-Ron has really done it all at least once on both ends. He's a one-time NBA champion, one-time Defensive Player of the Year, and a one-time NBA All-Star. Arguably, those accolades could make a case for the Hall of Fame. But for Metta Sandiford-Artest, those compliments from the all-time greats have already made him one.
"I have a lot to be grateful for," World Peace reflected. "The greatest players, hall of famers spoke those words. If hall of famers are speaking those words, I must be a hall of famer, man. They ain't talking like that about no scrub."
It is unlikely that Jordan and James would verify those testimonials Metta was talking about. Whatever the truth is, what remains absolute is that a player named Ron Artest or Metta Sandiford-Artest once reached the heights.