Tonight will not be so pleasant for Metta World Peace in Oklahoma City. And he does not plan to make it any easier.
Instead of showing remorse about violently elbowing Oklahoma City’s James Harden three weeks ago – an act that earned the Los Angeles Lakers’ forward a seven-game suspension – the former Ron Artest said he will not offer an apologetic handshake to Harden.
That only will make the booing he will hear every time he touches the ball.
Why won’t he show more contrition?
“I don’t shake hands with substitutes,” he said.
Harden, who won the league’s Sixth Man of the Year Award last week, was not fazed. “I’m not worried about him or what he has to say,” Harden said.
World Peace told reporters that mebers of the Thunder intentionally ignore the pre-game ritual of players shaking hands as a sign of mutual respect. “I shake everybody’s hand before the game, but Oklahoma City, they don’t shake hands … Kendrick Perkins and now (Russell) Westbrook don’t shake hands either.”
Lakers captain Kobe Bryant admitted the OKC fans will use the situation as motivation. “The crowd is obviously going to have a field day with that (World Peace’s return). I’m sure their players will generate some type of energy from it. For us, we just got to keep our poise and do what we do.”