Metta World Peace wants to continue his playing career and doesn’t even question his ability to still compete in the NBA.
Making a slew of appearances throughout New York City this week, visiting with family, promoting his dad’s Artest Foundation, promoting his clothing line The Panda’s Friend, and even playing in some summer hoops tournaments. The former Ron Artest caught up with ESPN’s Ian Begley to discuss a variety of topics, including his future in the NBA.
World Peace said that he’s “absolutely” still thinking about playing next season because “the NBA is always on the front burner.”
World Peace spent last season with the Lakers, averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 35 games. Formerly known as a defensive specialist. World Peace believes he can still be an impact type player, he just needs the playing time.
“I’m waiting for teams. I can still play. I can play, it’s not even a question man,” World Peace said. “But, you know, sometimes you don’t get in the game, man. What are you going to do? I’m not going to be upset, I’m going to support. So if I don’t play, like this year on the Lakers I could have averaged 15 or 20 on the Lakers if I played, easily. But you know, I’ll be supportive [if I don’t play].”
World Peace, soon-to-be 37 years old, is a 16-year NBA veteran who has enjoyed stints with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Lakers, and New York Knicks. He’s been a presence on every one of those teams and even captured an NBA title with the 2009-2010 Lakers. But at this stage, it has to do a lot with pride.
“But the only thing that gets me frustrated with the whole basketball is people think I can’t play anymore. So as a man, I take that personally,” World Peace said.
“But at the same time I’m able to still focus on making sure Julius Randle is doing his thing, and he’s focused, making sure I can give back. But when the season’s over, then I like to explain that I can play, and I can bust people’s ass. But the fans have to understand, it’s not up to me. It’s so frustrating to keep hearing it from the fans. ‘Come back to New York, come to Chicago. Why didn’t you play.’ It’s so frustrating at times.”
It's going to hard for World Peace to secure a guaranteed deal but with his experience, a team in search of a veteran presence will have his number on speed dial.