Lakers' Metta World Peace walks off the court after being ejected… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
It's going to take a while before Metta World Peace will fully repent for his vicious elbow Sunday on Oklahoma City guard James Harden.
After all, we've already seen World Peace (and Ron Artest) longingly rehab his image after the Palace Brawl, only to see some of it evaporate with his latest incident. However small, World Peace is taking the first small step toward trying to rebuild his reputation.
That step involved sending out a statement that made no excuses for his behavior.
"I hope James Harden is OK. I apologize to the Oklahoma City Thunder fans and the OKC organization.... I look forward to getting back on the floor with my teammates and competing for the Lakers and the Lakers fans."
The second step was understanding the consequences. His seven-game suspension sparked mixed sentiments on whether his punishment was too harsh, too lenient or fair. Regardless, a person close to World Peace indicated he would have respected and taken any punishment the league handed to him.
Another step involved canceling an appearance on Conan O'Brien's show. As lovable as World Peace can be, now is not the time for his goofy antics.
This, of course, is just the beginning. Once World Peace returns to the lineup, he'll have to temper his emotions and remove himself from any situation that might tap into that anger he's continuously tried to manage during the last few seasons.
Repentance is a start. But this is just the beginning.
"He's saddened by the whole thing," the person close to World Peace said. "He feels horrible. He hopes James is OK."
Lakers lucky Metta World Peace's penalty isn't longer