Metta World Peace calls time with Pacers ‘one of the biggest regrets’ of his life – Indianapolis Star

5 months ago Comments Off on Metta World Peace calls time with Pacers ‘one of the biggest regrets’ of his life – Indianapolis Star

To say Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, has had a tumultuous NBA career would be an understatement. He spent parts of five seasons with the Indiana Pacers from 2002-2006 and was part of three playoff teams in that span. But he was best-known for his off-the-court issues.

In an interview on ESPN’s “Highly Questionable” show, World Peace spoke candidly about his time with the Pacers and called it “one of the biggest regrets” of his life.

“When I got to Indiana, I was trying to find myself,” he said. “Reggie Miller tried to help me so much, but at that point I was learning how to listen but I wasn’t there yet. I never really listened to Reggie a lot.”

World Peace contributed on the court – he averaged 16.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game with Indiana – but said he regrets not being more of a factor off it.

“Jermaine O’Neal always reached out. Great teammate, great leader, and I never reached back out,” World Peace said. “Jermaine, Al Harrington, these guys would go out and get lunch, but I would stay in my room. I wasn’t social. I would come to practice, give 100 percent, but I was never building that team chemistry.”

He admitted jealousy played a role in his behavior.

“I was jealous of Jermaine O’Neal’s contract,” he said. “I felt like I was a top-tier player, but I felt like the Pacers didn’t treat me like that. It was all about me. It was too much ego. Everything was about me. When I don’t get what I want, I felt like I was entitled and I lashed out.”

World Peace’s problems began long before he came to Indiana. He grew up with 16 other family members in Queensbridge, New York, home to America’s largest public housing project notorious for its high crimes rates. World Peace said that by the time he was 13, he was “experimenting with all different kinds of things in the streets.”

“I was never rebellious, but I was always interested in different things,” he said. “I learned how to cook crack at the age of 13. That was something I’m not proud of, but it was something that was introduced to me at an early age.”

He said seeing other family members encounter run-ins with police and drug dealers convinced him to steer clear of trouble, and he credits a support system in his life for encouraging him to “stay in the books, stay into basketball, don’t stay in the streets.”

World Peace was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1999, but said he still “needed to learn how to be a professional.”

“I needed to learn about my life,” he said. “I didn’t understand who I was. I’m multiple people at one time. I’m a good student. I’m a math major. I’m a hood dude. I’m all these different things, and it was very confusing to me at one time.”

World Peace was traded to the Pacers after multiple off-the-court incidents, including drinking Hennessy during halftime of games.

World Peace played in 35 games for the Lakers this season.

Watch the whole interview here:

Metta World Peace calls time with Pacers ‘one of the biggest regrets’ of his life – Indianapolis Star

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