One of Metta World Peace‘s best features — and one that gets him into occasional trouble — is that he’s open and does not hold back. “Filter” is not a word often used with him.
He has been especially open — and brave — in discussing his challenges with mental illness. He has sacrificed to bring attention to the issue. And he’s not stopping now.
The Laker forward went on the Free Association podcast at Sportsnet and talked openly about how the famed “Malice at the Palace” brawl sent him into a depression, plus he discussed the mistakes of his early years in the league.
“It took me awhile [to recover], man. When I had the brawl I went into a real depression. I had been in really good shape. I was an all-star the year prior, and I probably had more all-star years ahead of me in the East. I was 245-250 lbs and feeling good. After the brawl I got up to 275 lbs—quickly. I was ready to retire….
When I returned the following year [after the brawl] in Indiana I was causing problems in the locker room, and eventually I requested a trade. So Larry traded me to the Kings. When I got to Sacramento I told Rick Adleman, “Look I don’t think I can give you anything.” He said “Ron, we’re going to go as far as you can take us.” I immediately went to the media and told them “We’re going to make the playoffs.” Everybody laughed. We were in last place. But we made it to the playoffs, and almost beat the Spurs that year. Rick Adleman changed my life. But it took awhile. I was still destructive and unstable. But I was getting better and better.
We all look back at our youth and cringe a little. Or more than a little. But the errors of my 20s were not broadcast to the world and dissected by millions of people who don’t know me. World Peace lived in a different world.
Credit to World Peace for recognizing his past, and making all of this a topic that can be discussed as a learning opportunity, not just a black-eye for the league.