As it turns out, Metta World Peace was concerned about the welfare of James Harden. He just wasn’t going to ask him personally.
Having delivered a vicious elbow that gave Harden a concussion and resulted in a seven-game suspension, World Peace provided his first extended interview on Conan O’Brien’s late night show Monday.
World Peace said he found out Harden was in good health through a “third party.”
Check the interview after the jump
“When it happened, you know, I didn’t realize he was that hurt until the day after, because guys in the NBA flop. … So I called some third parties, and they said he was OK,” World Peace told O’Brien.
“It’s so competitive, you know, I wanted to make sure he was OK first, so I did that. But to call him to make sure he’s OK? I didn’t want to do that,” said World Peace, dressed conservatively with grey jeans, a dark jacket, a T-shirt with his name spelled out and topped with a Scottish cap.
“I felt something, but I didn’t know it was his actual head.”
World Peace said Harden “runs into people’s elbows. When somebody dunks, he puts his chin right there. He did it to Tyson Chandler.”
When asked what he thought of the seven-game suspension given by the NBA, World Peace said: ”That elbow was a little bit too much and I deserved the suspension. I don’t know if I deserved (seven) games, because, you know, a week before that a guy looked at a guy and stepped on his head. So I said, OK, maybe I can get the same amount of games that he’s got.”
He said the backlash from those in the basketball community upset him the most. He called former Detroit Pistons player Bill Laimbeer a “hypocrite” for commenting on his style of play.
“I’m a retro player,” World Peace said. “A lot of guys giving comments, a lot of hypocrites. The regular media, OK, they can have their judgment, that’s what they do. But a regular player?”
World Peace was upset that his image off the court was being “tarnished” and pointed out his charity work and work with mental health patients. World Peace famously thanked his psychiatrist following the Lakers’ 2010 NBA title.
He said that his on-court image is more passionate like “The Hulk” and that “there’s no peace on the court.” He then elbowed O’Brien’s sidekick Andy Richter, saying “get off me.”
When asked about a pick-up game against President Obama, World Peace said he would “swat his shot in the first row.”
“And when he shoots the ball I would not elbow him,” World Peace joked.
“James Harden doesn’t have secret service,” Richter quipped.
World Peace first canceled his April 23 appearance because it was right after his suspension. On that night’s episode, Conan poked fun at World Peace.
That night, World Peace tweeted, “Thanks for the invite Conan O’Brien. Today was not good timing for me to do your show…. I wanted to do comedy but not much is funny now..”
With the Lakers leading the Denver Nuggets 3-1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs, questions loom on what World Peace’s impact will be on the team both on and off the court.
World Peace paid for the Lakers to watch the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto fight as a team at their hotel Saturday night, according to The Los Angeles Times.