Metta World Peace is one of those larger than life characters, and that makes us forget how good a player he was. The Malice in the Palace, changing his name, the partying and all the conflict, all come to mind before you think of his game.
At his best, Metta was good for 24.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists; he shot 50% from the field (41.2% from the three) and all that was performed for a player who was always one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. As much as he was a vital starter back then, the demand for 3 and D guys today would make him a high-value player. His contribution on the floor will always be undermined by his wild persona.
And what a persona it was! In his recent interview with Kristine Leahy, Metta talked about his experience on the Lakers and how did his temper work alongside Kobe:
Me and Kobe, we clashed a lot. He has a strong personality, and I have a strong personality. When he would go after us, I welcomed that, and he liked when I went back. We had one argument in practice, he was talking trash. He would get everybody going, so he would talk to everybody “You can’t guard me, you suck” and all this stuff. So one day in practice, I said “If Yao Ming didn’t get hurt that year, we would’ve beat you all. You can’t guard me, you ain’t got nothing on me.” So now I’m talking trash to the whole Lakers team, I’m on the Lakers. Phil Jackson’s there, Phil’s like “Ronnie, enough is enough now.” I’m like “It’s never enough until I say it’s enough.” I just disrupted 3o minutes of practice.
In the interview Metta pointed out he would always hate his opponents on the court, that’s how he got himself going, but today he has a lot of respect for the amazing players he played against. He did admit that “when I stopped partying, my numbers went up,” but one of those parties did end up in a marriage.
As it turns out, Metta got Khloe and Lamar together. He hired Khloe to host his birthday party, and Lamar met her there. Seven days later, they were engaged. If all else fails, he could start a matchmaking business.