Metta World Peace finishes in China, joins Italian team

Metta World Peace lands in Italy with new team after short stint in China

Metta World Peace is catching on all over the globe.

After a short stint with China's Sichuan Blue Whales as "The Panda's Friend," the former NBA champion has signed with the Italian team Pallacanestro Cantu for the final 17 games of their Lega A season.

"Metta will bring a wave of enthusiasm to the whole of Italian basketball and not just to Cantu," Cantu President Anna Cremascoli told the Associated Press.

World Peace, 35, averaged 19 points and six rebounds in 15 games for the Sichuan Blue Whales. Now, after hopping a plane and changing continents, World Peace says he won't stop playing professionals until he's 40.

"I didn't come here because I'm old and I don't want to play anymore,'' World Peace said. ''No, it's the perfect time for me, to come now, have a chance to play hard, meet my teammates, and then see if I can play another season here."

World Peace last played in the NBA for the New York Knicks in 2013-14. He won the NBA title with the Lakers in 2010 but was waived by the team under the amnesty provision following the 2012-13 season.

"Now, the mentality is different from when I was younger," World Peace said. "I always had the street mentality, but when you're older you get more mature. When you play angry you can't focus. I've got five more years to have a great time, so I will be playing with a lot of fire but not anger, just passion."

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

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