Some may know him as Ron Artest, and others may know him as Metta World Peace. But now he goes by Metta Sandiford-Artest. Artest spent 17 seasons in the NBA, where he made a name for himself. He became a defensive force in the league and won an NBA title playing with the LA Lakers.
Artest is a native of Queens, New York, and grew up a New York Knicks fan. In a recent interview on the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast, Artest talked about how he blew his chances of being drafted by the Knicks.
Taking a look at Artest’s early years in the NBA
Ron Artest was his birth name, and he attended college at St. John University, where he was a standout on the court. His college performance led him to become a first-round draft pick in the 1999 NBA draft to the Chicago Bulls. As a rookie, Artest started in 63 games and averaged 12 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.
Artest spent two and a half years in Chicago and then was traded to the Indiana Pacers in the middle of the 2001-02 season. His best years came when he played for the Pacers, and they were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference for multiple years. Artest made his first and only All-Star team in 2004, and he was named to the All-NBA Third Team that season. He averaged 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.1 steals. Artest is also known for the infamous ‘Malice at the Palace’ in November of 2004. He was suspended for 86 games after that incident.
During his time in Indiana, he was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and was a two-time All-NBA Defensive team selection. He was traded to the Sacramento Kings after playing in Indiana and then spent a season with the Houston Rockets.
Artest joined the Lakers and changed his name to Metta World Peace
After spending the 2008-09 season with the Rockets, Artest signed with the Lakers. His contract was a five-year deal worth $33 million. In his first season with the Lakers, he was a part of the team that won their second consecutive NBA title. It was Artest’s first title of his career, and he was filled with joy after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics.
After the 2010-11 season, Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace. He spent four seasons with the Lakers before playing for his hometown team, the Knicks, for one season in 2013. The Queens native returned to the Lakers after spending the 2013-14 season with the Knicks and ended his career as a Laker. For his career, he averaged 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
Artest explaining how he messed up his chances of being drafted by the Knicks
In May of 2020, he changed his name again to Metta Santifordm-Artest. Artest recently appeared on an episode of the ‘All the Smoke’ podcast hosted by former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. There was a segment in the show where he talked about how he thought he was going to be drafted by the Knicks. But he did something that he believed messed that up.
“I was telling my agent, I want to go to the Knicks,” he said on the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast, available on RADIO.COM. “But I was a kid, I didn’t know how to express that.” “By this time, I’m partying hard because I know I’m about to run into some cash … so I’m out, I got f—ed up at Flamingo. Got twisted, go back in the hotel, so I’m drunk and I’m like, ‘I can’t make it to the practice, to the (Knicks) workout.’ I tell these dudes, ‘Yo, I can’t make it, can I please come next time? Can you just have me back?'”
Artest still believed he was going to the Knicks even after missing the workout. But when draft night came, he went to the Bulls at the 16th pick. The Knicks had the 15th pick. “Chicago was an amazing experience, (but) I had the Knicks shorts under my suit and the shirt,” he said, thinking he was going to the Knicks. If he didn’t miss that workout, who knows what could have happened. But he did get a chance to play for the Knicks during his career.