Skip to main content

Kendrick Perkins on Metta World Peace elbowing James Harden: “It lit a fire under us”


During his appearance on the “Forgotten Seasons” podcast, Kendrick Perkins revealed what happened after Metta World Peace elbowed James Harden in 2012 and how the incident motivated the Thunder for the playoffs. For Perk, the hard foul was just what the OKC needed at that time. 

Metta World Peace elbows James Harden

Throughout the years, Metta earned a reputation as the NBA’s unpredictable one. You don’t know what he would do next; even his teammates and coaches were often caught by surprise. He had anger management issues and admitted the guys he played with in Indiana helped recognize the problem sooner. 

“When I got to Indiana, we started to really get a [mental-health] diagnosis, and then I just started to do therapy and breathe in and meditation and different things like that. That was really cool, when I started to work on that type of stuff.”

Metta World Peace, ESPN

His involvement in the Malice at the Palace only proved his struggles with handling his emotions, and a regular-season game against OKC in 2012 reminded everyone of it. That’s when World Peace again did the unthinkable -- he elbowed James Harden so hard it became an internet meme.

The video review revealed World Peace wanted to hurt The Beard and was not just celebrating a dunk, as he tried to sell it. As a result, Metta was ejected, but the Lakers still pulled off a 114-106 victory over the Thunder. Harden had to be placed in concussion protocol due to the severity of the hit on his head. You can see what happened below:

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The Thunder lost the game, but the incident changed the course of their upcoming playoff series.

Kendrick Perkins: "It lit a fire under us"

Perkins, who was part of the Thunder roster, claimed that the incident helped them. His role was to become the enforcer the young Thunders needed to make it through the tough playoffs. And Kendrick played his part well. 

“When Metta World Peace elbowed James, that was the worst thing that he could have done because that actually lit a fire under us.”

Kendrick Perkins, ">Forgotten Seasons

The Lakers and OKC met in the Western Conference semifinals, but this time, Harden got the last laugh as the Thunder ran away with a 4-1 series victory. And according to Perk, the incident from April 22, 2012, had a lot to do with it.

James and the rest of the roster used it as a lesson for overcoming the physicality of the playoffs. Because hard fouls are expected when the stakes are higher. And for Perkins, the foul had to happen for a lesson to be learned the hard way.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler during media day

Is Jimmy Butler the ultimate troll or a business guru?

With Jimmy Butler moving towards the latter half of his career, it seems that he wants to start building his off-court brand.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives