Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace didn’t really live up to his name Sunday (April 22), getting ejected from the Lakers’ game with the Oklahoma City Thunder for throwing an elbow.
World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, was celebrating a dunk late in the first half when he swung his left elbow and clocked the Thunder’s James Harden in the head (you can watch a replay below. Harden suffered a concussion.
World Peace was called for a flagrant foul 2 for throwing the elbow, which is an automatic ejection from the game. The Lakers went on to win, 114-106, in double overtime, and World Peace was contrite after the game.
“During that play I just dunked on [Kevin] Durant and [Serge] Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow,” he said, according to ESPN. “I hope he’s OK. The Thunder, they’re playing for a championship this year, so I hope that he’s OK and I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden. You know, it was such a great game and it was unfortunate so much emotion was going on at that time.”
He continued apologizing after the game on Twitter, writing, “I just watched the replay again….. Oooo.. My celebration of the dunk really was too much… Didn’t even see James ….. Omg… Looks bad.”
Prior to changing his name, World Peace/Artest was known as much for his temper as his play. In 2004-05, he served the longest suspension for an on-court incident in NBA history, sitting out 73 regular-season games for the “Malice at the Palace” brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons.
Here’s a replay of the Sunday incident: