Metta World Peace started a war Sunday with the elbow heard around the world. The brutal and viscous shot over-shadowed an important and thrilling double-overtime game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder. More importantly, the crushing blow flattened rising star James Harden, took him out of this game and left him concussed and sidelined for an unknown amount of time.
The discussion now turns to punishment for the repeat offender formerly known as Ron Artest. We'll wait and see how the NBA responds to the most irresponsible and dangerous act of aggression we've seen on a basketball court in some time.
This wasn't a fight. This wasn't a hard foul within the confines of the game. This was an assault by a large, strong man with an elbow to the head that could have been deadly had it struck Harden in the back of the neck or temple.
Here's how SB Nation's Silver Screen and Roll (Lakers) and Welcome to Loud City (Thunder) reacted to the hit.
Metta World Peace Issues Apology for Elbowing James Harden in the Neck - Welcome to Loud City
Metta World Peace strikes me as a guy who's pretty cool off of the court, but can lose his cool in the heat of the moment. But, I try not to have too much of an opinion on these types of things, as pretty much everyone is entrenched in what they think. You either love Metta or you hate Metta, and whatever I say is just going to confirm what you think or incite some form of rage.
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And Metta World Peace showed he still has quite the dark side. After a tremendous dunk in traffic, Metta started doing one of his patented chest thumping celebrations, but when James Harden entered his airspace, Metta let fly with a poorly disguised elbow straight to the side of Harden's head, and was promptly and justly ejected from the game. Harden did not return to the game, due to concussion like symptoms. One can only hope he doesn't miss significant time due to Metta's fall off the wagon of respectable behavior.
It's interesting to note that the Lakers side didn't defend their player, and the Thunder side was measured in their response.
Personally, 10 games seems like a slap on the wrist for this unprovoked and highly dangerous act. This is a player with a long history of losing control of his emotions and actions on the court, and with this latest display there's nothing the league could do, including a life-time ban, that would be too severe.
There's no place for this in the game and no place for players willing to threaten the lives of their opponents in such a manner.
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