Last night’s vicious elbow to the head of Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden may have caused Lakers forward Metta World Peace to lose much of the support he had gained since committing to change his image from the out-of-control player who ran into the stands to attack fans some eight years ago in Auburn Hills.
Since he joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009, there has been a noticeable difference in the behavior of Queensbridge, New York native World Peace (formally Ron Artest). He has had far fewer on-court outbursts, and he even won the NBA Citizenship Award after the 2011 season.
With the Lakers trailing the Thunder in the first half on Sunday, World Peace made a nice move to the basket and finished strong with his left hand. As he began to pound his chest in celebration World Peace bumped into Harden. As Harden moved passed him he delivered a hard elbow to the back of Harden’s head.
Harden was forced to leave the game with concussion-like symptoms and was unable to return. While World Peace claimed the elbow was accidental, the replay seems to show that World Peace’s elbow was retaliation for the contact from Harden.
Perhaps even more surprising than the elbow was World Peace’s demeanor as he squared up with Thunder center Serge Ibaka as Ibaka approached him in defense of Harden.
The look in his eyes was not that of a man promoting World Peace. Was it a glimpse of the old Ron Artest?
World Peace put all his hard work into question with an elbow to Harden’s head. Amazing how one hard foul can change everything.