L.A. Lakers forward Metta World Peace, aka Ron Artest, was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder for throwing an elbow at James Harden.
The hit following a dunk by Artest was ruled a “flagrant 2″ foul and Harden was sent back to the locker room for concussion tests. He was cleared to play in the second half, but then complained of headaches and was eventually held out of the game.
Artest is facing a likely suspension for at least a game and possibly more. With the Lakers and Thunder jockeying for playoff position this could definitely come to hurt the Lakers down the line.
Opinions seem to be split on whether the elbow was intentional or not, and Artest has apologized, saying it was an accident.
“During that play I just dunked on (Kevin) Durant and (Serge) Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow,” World Peace said. “I hope he’s OK. The Thunder, they’re playing for a championship this year, so I hope that he’s OK and I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden. You know, it was such a great game and it was unfortunate so much emotion was going on at that time. … That’s it for today.”
World Peace also addressed the situation on Twitter:
World Peace later addressed the foul on Twitter.
“Hope James Hardin (sic) is ok…,” World Peace wrote. “I remember when I hit by Marc Gasol the same way.. I was spitting up blood and a headache during the game…”
“I just watched the replay again….. Oooo.. My celebration of the dunk really was too much… Didn’t even see James ….. Omg… Looks bad,” he tweeted.
World Peace, who changed his name last year, has been mostly well-behaved during his three seasons with the Lakers. Artest is still well known for his 86-game suspension for participating in the brawl in the Palace of Auburn Hills stands while playing for Indiana in November 2004.
Since his 86-game suspension World Peace has taken significant steps to address his anger issues and repair his reputation, including raffling off his 2010 championship ring to raise more than $650,000 for mental health charities and winning the NBA’s citizenship award following the 2011-12 season.
Ron Artest’s 2004 brawl