In the closing moments of a college basketball game between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech on Saturday, Marcus Smart went into the stands and shoved a fan after hearing something that crossed the line.
Metta World Peace has a unique perspective on an incident like this, considering he too went into the stands under similar circumstances in 2004 as a member of the Indiana Pacers. The infamous Malice in the Palace brawl ensued, costing World Peace (then Ron Artest) a suspension that totaled 86 games.
World Peace spoke about the situation with Smart before his Knicks took on the Thunder in Oklahoma City, and being much older now, had a little bit more perspective.
Q: Just because they give their money, does that give a fan the right to scream something?
A: If a fan screams something at me, I don’t know what that person has been through, you know. He could have or she could have grown up rough or maybe in a single family household. I don’t know what would make somebody scream negative things at somebody, maybe they’re just having fun. In a pro game, I’ve learned to accept it because they pay to watch us play and hey, I appreciate it. …
Q: Would you respond differently if it happened today?
A: (Joking) If you threw a beer at me, I probably would put you in a chokehold right now. And then we would go get some ice cream later, but I would probably tell you how much of an (expletive) you were.
World Peace can make jokes now, almost 10 years later — he’s matured and has had a fine, long-lasting NBA career that followed the suspension.
As long as this incident is an isolated one from Smart, it shouldn’t affect how he’s viewed by NBA executives. He just needs to learn from it the way World Peace says he has.