Metta World Peace is back in the NBA after a few seasons in China and has found an NBA more focused on the three-pointer and passing than the one he left. So, naturally, he has assumed the least surprising position available to him, that the NBA is, “No longer a man’s game. It’s a baby’s game. There’s softies everywhere.”
That quote comes from a sitdown World Peace did with the Los Angeles Times’ Eric Pincus. The problem with the NBA, as World Peace tells it, is these coddled Millennial babies:
“I remember I came into the NBA in 1999, the game was a little bit more rough. The game now is more for kids. It’s not really a man’s game anymore,” World Peace said. “The parents are really protective of their children. They cry to their AAU coaches. They cry to the refs, ‘That’s a foul. That’s a foul.’
“Sometimes I wish those parents would just stay home, don’t come to the game, and now translated, these same AAU kids whose parents came to the game, ‘That’s a foul.’ These kids are in the NBA. So now we have a problem. You’ve got a bunch of babies professionally around the world.”
This is something we always see from ex-tough guys. Charles Oakley pulled this card. Shaq did it. So did Gary Payton. Players will always wax nostalgic about the good old days when the NBA wouldn’t punish violence and Men Could Hit Each Other. This criticism is wrong (the NBA is always intensely physical. Look at how much LeBron got mugged in last year’s Finals) but it also misses the point. If on-court violence is down, it’s because of rule changes designed to have games be fun to watch, rather than back-alley punchfests made famous by the late-90’s Knicks. Even if the get-off-my-lawners were right, they’d be mistaking symptom for cause.
What’s novel here is that World Peace is an active player. He is on an unguaranteed contract, and he’s one of two players in contention for L.A.’s last roster spot. He was bad in his brief stint with the Knicks, but he hasn’t been anything more than a bit player for five years. If he makes the team, it’ll be to mentor the Lakers’ young players, soak up six fouls, and maybe play a little power forward.
World Peace excluded teammate Julius Randle from his scathing-yet-warmed-over indictment, saying, “His ceiling is as high as destiny.” He’ll turn 36 next month, a full 16 more than Randle.
Schedule that Draymond Green complaint for 2028 I guess.
Photo via Getty