By Mike Bresnahan
2:24 PM PST, March 2, 2013
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 Saturday. "So I'll let you guys do your research from here on out, just monitor how Dwight gets fouled. 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. Sometimes he gets hurt. 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 missed 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 also defended his own reputation after the NBA hit him with a flagrant 2 for elbowing Denver forward Kenneth Faried in the mouth while boxing out in the Lakers' 119-108 loss Monday to the Nuggets.
"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 in 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, who has been suspended by the league 11 times since 2003, laid out why he shouldn't be blamed for his latest transgression. And perhaps many of them too.
"I came to the NBA in '99. I started watching NBA basketball, like, in '95. The Knicks, Miami, I was a fan of those type of 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. When I get to the league, I dare somebody from, like, the Detroit Pistons to try to bully me.'
"I was in the league when I was a rookie, I remember Alonzo Mourning saying, 'You come in here again, young fella, blahblahblah.' I went in there again. Nineteen years old. Do it."
World Peace also remembered a game in which he was elbowed several times down the court by Glenn Robinson. He finally snapped.
"I told him, 'You just elbowed the wrong person. I took him and put him on the floor. Nineteen years old," he said. "That's how I grew up watching the game. What do you want me to do?"
While growing up, 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. We've got to get out. Next day we go to another 'hood and play ball. 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 watch. This is what we saw."
World Peace has five flagrant-foul "points" in the NBA's suspension system.
If he gets the lesser flagrant 1 called on him at any point before the end of the regular-season finale, he is suspended for one game. If he gets hit with the more egregious flagrant 2, he is suspended two games.
He went back to talking about Monday's loss in Denver, and 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. "This guy's coming 100 miles an hour down my back. What am I supposed to do? Skinny up?" World Peace scrunched his shoulder together and looked like a pencil.
Then he added, "You wasn't taught to go like this." He raised his arms straight in the air.
"Looks like a cheerleader."
World Peace has had to play a lot of power forward and center in recent games.
"I can’t wait 'til Pau [Gasol] and Jordan [Hill] get back," he said, adding a list of taller players he's had to guard in their absence: Carlos Boozer, Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki and "the big boy from Minnesota, I forget his name, it's a funny name." That would be center Nikola Pekovic.
"I'm not backing down to none of these guys," World Peace said. "I'm not even a power forward. I'm a small forward. 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. Enough."
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times