Metta World Peace is hoping to play professional basketball for 20 seasons, Mark Medina of The Orange County Register writes. “I want to finish off strong,” World Peace said. “It’s not about what it will mean to me. It’s about, ‘Can I get there?’”
World Peace faces stiff competition to make the Lakers’ opening night roster, but the veteran isn’t worried about his status on the team. “My concern is having a good time. There’s nothing to overcome,” World Peace said. “I’m a hell of a basketball player. That’s the hard part, becoming a good basketball player. Once you do that, you don’t have to worry about nothing else.”
The Lakers signed the 36-year-old to a one year, non-guaranteed deal last month. The forward similarly signed with the team late last summer and became a mentor to the team’s young talent over the course of the season. Despite the additions of several veterans, such as Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, World Peace has a chance to carve out the same role. “We didn’t expect him to make the team last year and he made it,”GM Mitch Kupchak said. “The same thing can happen this year.” If he makes the team, the 2016/17 seasons will be World Peace’s 17th NBA season and 18th overall in his professional career.
Coach Luke Walton and rising star D’Angelo Russell both feel Metta World Peace is nothing like his reputation would suggest and believe the veteran is a great teammate, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times relays (series of tweets). “Metta is very professional,” Walton said. “There’s a lot of help having him around and having him at camp.” Russell added that the forward took him under his wing last season.
The man formerly known as Ron Artest enjoys hearing the kind words, but understands the reason that he has the adverse reputation. “I used to be a bad teammate,” World Peace lamented.