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Lakers' Metta World Peace on NBA aggression: 'I didn't invent this'

World Peace, suspended by the league 11 times since 2003, says he grew up playing tough in New York and watching physical NBA playoff series. He says he 'can't back down' against bigger players.

March 02, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Metta World Peace receives high-fives from his teammates after making a basket during the Lakers' 111-107 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Metta World Peace receives high-fives from his teammates after making… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

Metta World Peace didn't want to talk. No way. No comment.

Of course he couldn't help himself and began a 16-minute discourse on a variety of topics.

First and foremost: The NBA isn't doing enough to protect Lakers teammate Dwight Howard.

"Dwight gets fouled a lot intentionally. Dwight goes up, they push him in the back," World Peace said. "Is it an intentional foul or not? Because y'all aren't looking for those things unless it's brought to your attention.

"I'm not complaining. Those are intentional fouls. He's getting hurt. He got hurt when he got pushed in Orlando [last season]. These guys are coming down on his back. He had to get surgery as a result of that. And he misses games. He's not complaining. He's a little upset but he goes out there and plays. And those [fouls] are multiple occasions."

World Peace then defended his own reputation after the NBA hit him with a Flagrant 2 for elbowing Kenneth Faried in the mouth while boxing out in the Lakers' 119-108 loss Monday to Denver.

"The young generation coming up is being mixed with this old generation that's kind of slowly going out. And George Karl knows. Come on," World Peace said. "He's been in this NBA longer than me. He knows the era of basketball."

Karl, the Nuggets' coach, said World Peace's act was "premeditated." World Peace countered by saying he got "flared" in the face by Denver center JaVale McGee earlier that game.

"But I'm not going to say, 'Call it in' [to the NBA] … I'm not that type of guy," World Peace said. "A couple years ago, Marc Gasol flared his arms, broke my nose. Spitting up blood and coughing up blood. I'm not going to call it in."

World Peace, suspended by the league 11 times since 2003, laid out why he shouldn't be blamed for his latest transgression.

"I started watching NBA basketball, like, in '95. The Knicks, Miami, I was a fan of those type of [physical] playoff series that took place in the NBA on TV and I wanted to play in that atmosphere," World Peace said. "So as a young kid I had to make a decision: I'm not going to be scared to play in that type of game. That's my mind frame. You look at [Michael] Jordan against Detroit, Jordan had to grow. They were bullying him. So I'm like, 'OK, that's never going to happen to me.' "

As a youth, World Peace said he remembered playing in New York parks and projects where "there was only one way in and one way out."

"My man got hit over the head with a bottle while he was shooting a free throw. Bats and guns come out. Next day we go to another 'hood and play ball," World Peace said. "I'm a young kid and then watching the NBA, my mentality's already, 'I'm ready for this.'

"It's not like I brung this aggression to the league. I didn't invent this. This is what we watched. This is what we saw."

World Peace then circled back to elbowing Faried.

"The best offensive rebounder in the league is coming full speed…down your back. That impact is not soft. It hurts me too," World Peace said, putting his arms at his side to look like a pencil. "What am I supposed to do. Skinny up?"

Then he raised his arms in the air. "You wasn't taught to [box out] like this. Looks like a cheerleader."

World Peace has recently played a lot at power forward and center.

"I can't wait till Pau [Gasol] and Jordan [Hill] get back," he said, compiling a verbal list of taller players he's had to guard in their absence, including "the big boy from Minnesota, I forget his name. It's a funny name." That would be center Nikola Pekovic.

"I'm not even a power forward. I'm a small forward," World Peace said. "I've got to go up against these guys every single night. I can't back down. What am I going to do? Let these guys come in and rebound every single time?"

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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