We all knew there would come a time when Metta World Peace’s off-court interests would somehow factor in to his on-court performance. Though we’re still waiting for that to occur there have been some telling signs of just where World Peace’s mind is during this lockout.
If you’re to believe Magic Johnson then Metta is somewhere in orbit at the moment. While I doubt NASA has had any sightings of a 6’7” human circling the Earth. There is reason to believe what we’ve seen from World Peace during this uneven offseason reflects where his true passions are.
To date the man formerly known as Ron Artest has undergone a name change, participated in a failed attempt to dance on network TV, flirted with hooping in England with hopes of landing a soap opera gig and for good measure has squeezed in an appearance in a feature film and done a music video.
To be fair Metta has also been heavily involved in his various charitable acts as well. It hasn’t been all spotlight searching as he recently donated a healthy sum of cash to various organizations throughout the country.
Notice how almost none of the aforementioned activities involve anything hoops related? Even his desire to play overseas came with the caveat of being made into an international brand as a rapper/actor/whatever else he could do to gain exposure.
Hey, I get it. Metta is closing in on those final stages of his hoops career. For him these next couple of years will pave the way for a life without professional basketball. Metta is no Kobe. Mamba is known for his hoops obsession. While Bryant engages in his share of off-court antics none doubt for a second that he isn’t spending even more time getting his game right.
Now on the subject of commitment Metta isn’t a slacker by any means. He takes his job seriously and hasn’t shown any of those signs seen earlier in his career since joining the purple and gold fold.
We’re all familiar with the instance in which Artest asked for time off from the Indiana Pacers to promote his rap album. Safe to say none of that would fly with Phil Jackson and one Mr. Bryant around.
The problem is PJ is gone and Mike Brown doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping strong personalities in check.
The problem is World Peace is coming off of the worst statistical season of his career.
The problem is the longer this lockout lingers the more Metta seeks to find distractions.
To be sure much more is going to be expected of Metta World Peace than was of Ron Artest. The Lakers aren’t winning anything without getting much more from Metta. Hopefully he’s got a Favre-like ability to silence the other stuff and focus in on the task at hand. The problem is we just don’t have any idea what to expect next.
But this is the gamble Dr. Buss and Mitch Kupchak knew they were making. So far nothing has occurred off the court to make them gather whatever chips may remain and walk away from the Metta roulette table. The problem is you never know when that bouncing ball is going to land on a number that bankrupts the house.