While the name Metta Sandiford-Artest might not ring any bells, he’s no stranger to making news. Sandiford-Artest, formerly known as Metta World Peace and Ron Artest, spent 17 years in the NBA as a player. But, regardless of his name, could you imagine the former forward as the New York Knicks head coach?
Although Sandiford-Artest has only one year of coaching experience under his belt, that won’t stop him from dreaming big. In fact, he recently admitted that he “would love” the Knicks head coaching gig.
Ron Artest/Metta World Peace’s NBA career
These days, most NBA fans probably remember Metta Sandiford-Artest remembered for his name changes and his infamous role in the Malice at the Palace brawl. During his time in the NBA, however, the forward was a pretty solid player.
Ron Artest, as he was originally known, made a name for himself in New York City as a high school star; his rise to local prominence continued at St. John’s. He spent two seasons in Queens, averaging 13.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, before entering into the 1999 NBA draft.
The Chicago Bulls selected Artest with the 16th overall pick, and the forward spent the first two and a half years of his career in the Windy City. In 2002, he joined the Indianapolis Pacers via trade; there, he developed a reputation as a fierce defender with a bit of a temper.
Artest’s career changed forever, though, on November 19, 2004 when a brawl between the Pistons and Pacers spilled into the stands. The forward ended up serving an 86-game suspension for his transgressions. He left Indiana in 2006 and began bouncing around the NBA; he spent time with the Kings, Rockets, Lakers, and Knicks before retiring in 2017.
While it’s impossible to overlook his actions in Detroit on that fateful night, Artest/World Peace did have a solid NBA career. During his 17 years in the association, he averaged 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per outing; he also won a championship with the Lakers, the 2003-04 Defensive Player of the Year title, and the 2011 Walter Kennedy Citizen Award.
Coaching New York Knicks would be a dream job
“Listen, I don’t want anybody’s job,” Sandiford-Artest explained on ClutchPoints’ “Battle for LA” podcast. “I love basketball. I told my staff if the Knicks job was ever available, I would love it. I would love an NBA head coaching job. The Knicks? Definitely.”
While the former forward reiterated that he didn’t want to take anyone’s job and was “not prepared to be an assistant,” this isn’t the first time the former forward has mentioned working for the Knicks.
As documented by SNY, Sandiford-Artest, who was still known as Metta World Peace at the time, tweeted about becoming the team’s coach in 2019. “If the @nyknicks is available, I definitely want to head coach there,” he said in a since-deleted tweet. “I will absolutely bring that street mentality to the garden…This would be epic for all people like me. Straight from the jungles to win a title in NYC.”
Metta Sandiford-Artest won’t be the Knicks coach, but he does have a message for their fans
It goes without saying that hiring Metta Sandiford-Artest as a head coach would be a bizarre decision, even by the New York Knicks’ standards; one year of G-League experience simply isn’t enough to take charge of an NBA team. With that being said, though, he still shared his potential message to the fans.
“If I get the head coaching job, I told people I’m going at the fans first,” he explained. “I don’t like how they treat the Knicks. I don’t like how the New York City fans always put the Knicks under pressure.”
“Look at the Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs, those fans, they ride and they die for the San Antonio Spurs,” Sandiford-Artest continued. “And they believe that the San Antonio Spurs gonna be good. But in New York, we gotta always yell, ‘Oh, they suck! This guy sucks!’ What player wants to hear that all the time? What coach wants to hear that all the time?”