Metta World Peace’s Amnesty Release May Spell the End for Laker Forward

For a five-year stretch between 2009 and 2013, my favorite member of the Los Angeles Lakers was the Artest formerly known as Ron, better known by his real name Metta World Peace. If you're prone to his Twitter suggestions, you might also refer to him as "Whole Foods Guacamole Dip":


If you've tried Whole Foods' Guacamole Dip, you might be inclined to believe Metta was actually serious about changing his name. And if you've watched Metta World Peace as a Laker for the past four seasons, or even as a member of the NBA the past 14 seasons, you'll also wonder just how serious he was when he wrote this:

Incredulity is a common thread through all the anecdotes of World Peace's richly "storied" NBA career. Who can forget the infamous story of a player from World Peace's neighborhood being murdered during a basketball game with a table leg? How about when it turned out that the story was actually true?

And therein lies the rub about Metta World Peace/Ron Artest's career both on and off the court: It wades delightfully in the gray area of believability. Did he really take 5.5 three-pointers per game last season? Did he really just sing a song about pulling the shorts off Paul Pierce?

Here are a couple things that are beyond doubt: When World Peace came to the Lakers as Ron Artest, his reputation was in dire need of repair.

The indelible image of then-Artest lying on a scorer's table that fateful autumn night in Auburn Hills and the infamous brawl which followed made sure the words "troubled" and "volatile" were appended to every sentence written about him. To the NBA world at large, Artest was the embodiment of everything wrong with the NBA: the alleged "thuggish" persona non grata whose militaristic loyalty to those close to him and the hellish Queensbridge projects he infamously grew up in were unfamiliar values to Middle America.

But contra...

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