Within two days, mostly everything with Metta World Peace will come full circle.
He'll step on the same court with Oklahoma City guard James Harden only 22 days after delivering a vicious elbow that gave him a concussion. The Lakers-Thunder Western Conference semifinals marks the first full playoff series World Peace will play after a seven-game suspension. And after initially hearing cheers from Staples Center after knocking out Harden, Chesapeake Energy Arena will likely greet him with contentious boos.
Instead of bringing closure to this ugly chapter, World Peace doesn't plan on shaking Harden's hands or apologizing in any way.
"My concern is executing the coach's game plan," World Peace said. "That's all my concern is."
That's where World Peace remains misguided. He's hiding behind the shield of maintaining a competitive edge instead of just showing a shred of decency and owning up to his mistake. He has endlessly apologized for not tempering his emotions and letting his teammates down. World Peace has also reached out to unspecified third parties to find out about Harden's recovery. But his constant refusal to directly apologize only heightens an animosity that's unnecessary.
Look, World Peace doesn't have to suddenly become friends with Harden. But what damage would be done by having a brief phone conversation with Harden apologizing for what he did? Or sending a text message? What consequences would have ensued had World Peace initially showed some remorse by helping him up or providing some gesture that he meant no harm?
Zero, especially considering World Peace wouldn't guard Harden anyway.
When Kobe Bryant delivered a flagrant foul in Game 6 to Nuggets forward Kenneth Feried, the Lakers guard lifted him up and then patted him. Think anyone's questioning Bryant's competitiveness? After delivering a hard foul that broke Bryant's nose and gave him a concussion in the 2012 NBA All-Star game, Miami guard Dwyane Wade initially boasted about it. But once he realized the severity of Bryant's pain, Wade texted him with an apology. The two still battled it out the next week. As far as World Peace? He's done nothing but offer subtle digs at Harden.
"I don't want support for what I did," World Peace said. "I still love my fans, but I don't want to be supported for [that]. Even though he came and ran up behind me and he's done that before to Tyson Chandler and other players and he flopped even in the series [against Dallas] in the first round, but I don't want support for that."
Harden may have done that to Chandler, but he didn't do that to World Peace. Instead, the Lakers forward struck an innocent bystander and could've caused permanent damage. The fact that World Peace doesn't realize that makes us wonder how he'll handle further animosity from the Thunder and its fans, and it shows that he lacks incredible perspective on the mess he caused.
That includes his refusal to apologize to Harden directly.