Born Ronald William Artest on November 13, 1979, in Queens, New York, Metta World Peace was drafted 16th overall in the 1999 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. He played for a handful of teams thereafter before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009. He legally changed his name to Metta World Peace in 2011.
Born Ronald William Artest on November 13, 1979, Metta World Peace was the oldest of six children growing up in the Queensbridge Houses, New York City’s oldest public housing complex. The area was home to some gang and drug activity, and growing up in this environment set the tone for World Peace early on. He once said, "I’m accustomed to playing basketball really rough. When I came into the league, I was used to fighting on the court. That’s how I grew up playing basketball."
World Peace played high school basketball at La Salle Academy, where he was a McDonald’s All-American, led his team to a 27-0 record and was New York City’s Co-Player of the Year. In 1997, after fielding offers from several colleges, World Peace decided to attend St. John's University in Queens. In his freshman year, Artest was named to the Big East’s All-Rookie and All-Tournament teams, and the St. John’s Red Storm went 22-10, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993.
In 1999, World Peace left college a year early to go pro, and was drafted 16th overall in the first round of the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. In his rookie year, World Peace proved to be a solid player, averaging 12 points per game, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Halfway through the 2001–02 season, however, he was traded by the Bulls to the Indiana Pacers.
Awards and Publicity
World Peace, known as Artest at the time, missed the first 23 games of his first season with the Pacers with a broken right ring finger, but when he returned he ranked second in the NBA with a career-high 2.56 steals per game. The following year, he put more points on the board—15.5 points per game vs. 10.9 the previous year—and was runner-up for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Always known as a tough player, World Peace's reputation was truly displayed when he was involved in a brawl between the Pacers and Detroit Pistons in November 2004. During the melee, World Peace bolted into the crowd to fight a fan who he believed had thrown something at him, and then returned to the court to continue the battle. He was suspended for the rest of the season, which amounted to 86 games, an NBA record.
At the end of the season, World Peace requested a trade, and by January 2005 he was a Sacramento King. His physical style of play remained his trademark in Sacramento, and it stayed with him through his 2008 trade to the Houston Rockets.
In 2009, World Peace was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, and he became an important member of the squad during the 2010–11 season, which ended with the Lakers being crowned NBA champs and World Peace earning his first championship ring.
In September 2011, World Peace legally changed his name, from Ronald William Artest to Metta World Peace. In a statement release shortly after his name change, World Peace said, "Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world."
World Peace signed with the New York Knicks in July 2013, but he lasted just a few months in New York. After drawing little interest from other NBA teams, the veteran forward traveled overseas to continue his professional career with stints in China and Italy.
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