Aside from those postseason heroics his first season in Los Angeles the Ron Artest/Metta World Peace experiment has largely been a failure. If you stop by LSL often enough then you’ve no doubt seen countless occurrences in which the name World Peace and the word amnesty appear side by side.
When Artest changed his name to World Peace last year the hope was it would also change his game. Instead we got the same results just in a new package. World Peace reported to camp out of shape having taken a few too many liberties with the time away from the game due to the lockout.
Then a little thing called pride kicked in after the Lakers were again bounced from the playoffs in the second round. World Peace made a vow to show up in shape and ready to go for the next season.
Well that next season is here and the man once known as Artest is actually looking like a new man even without another name change.
Depending on who you believe, Metta is said to have been tipping the scale at around 275-pounds last season when the abbreviated camp began. This time around he’s said to be almost 20 pounds lighter. Even better than his conditioning is his game.
After posting career lows in most every category last season World Peace is off to a great start in the preseason. While I realize preseason performance is about as meaningful as anything that comes out of A-Rod’s mouth it does show Metta is serious about his hoops once again.
The initial fears of Artest coming to L.A. were all the distractions he would encounter. From driving an Indy Car on surface streets to flirting with the notion of becoming a British soap opera star there were plenty of warning signs that World Peace was being lost in the Hollywood shuffle.
Refocused, rededicated and reinvigorated the new Metta World Peace looks like he’ll be a valued contributor once again. And if this season is going to end with another parade then having MWP fully engaged will be a complete necessity.