Yesterday the NBA suspended Lakers forward Metta World Peace for seven games after World Peace concussed Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden with a flagrant elbow Sunday night.
The suspension is the fourteenth in the 14-year NBA career of World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest.
With the help of Patricia Bender, who has compiled a list of every NBA fine and suspension since 1994, I’ve put together this list of all of Metta World Peace’s NBA suspensions.
To World Peace’s credit, this is only his fourth suspension since his brawl with Pistons fans in 2004. Prior to that career-defining incident, he got suspended much more frequently.
It’s also worth noting that he never picked up a suspension during his tenure with the Houston Rockets.
Here are all fourteen suspensions, in reverse chronological order.
14. April 24, 2012: 7 games for an elbow to James Harden’s head.
Yesterday the league suspended World Peace for seven games for elbowing James Harden in the head during Sunday’s game between the Lakers and the Thunder.
Harden suffered a concussion and has not yet been cleared to return.
13. May 5, 2011: 1 game for hitting J.J. Barea in the face.
Toward the end of Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals between World Peace’s Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, World Peace—then known as Ron Artest—earned a flagrant foul and (one day later) a one-game suspension for hitting Mavericks guard J.J. Barea in the face.
The Lakers lost Game 2 93-81, and the Mavericks ended up sweeping the series.
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12. July 14, 2007: 7 games for domestic violence.
Artest, then with the Sacramento Kings, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge during the off-season. The NBA responded by suspending him for seven games.
11. April 24, 2006: 1 game for a flagrant elbow.
During a blowout loss in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series between Artest’s Kings and the San Antonio Spurs, Artest threw an elbow at Spurs guard Manu Ginóbili.
Without Artest, the Kings also dropped Game 2. With Artest back in the lineup the eighth-seeded Kings took Games 3 and 4 at home before losing the series in six games.
10. November 21, 2004: 72 games and the playoffs for fighting with Pistons fans.
Ron Artest was the NBA’s 2004 Defensive Player of the Year. He won a ring with the Lakers in 2010 and the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2011. He made one All-Star team and four NBA All-Defensive teams.
But the defining moment of Artest’s career is, and likely always will be, the melee that broke out during the final minute of an early-season game between the Pacers and Pistons.
With the Pacers leading by 15 and the game in hand, Artest fouled Pistons center Ben Wallace from behind. Wallace responded by pushing Artest and a scuffle ensued on the court. Artest removed himself from the action and lied down on the scorer’s table.
While he was cooling off, a fan hit him in the chest with a Diet Coke. Artest went into the stands to find the fan, grabbed the wrong fan, and trampled another fan in the process. Eventually, he also ended up in a fight with two fans on the court.
The NBA suspended Artest for the remainder of the season, including the playoffs. His Pacers teammates Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal, both of whom had also fought with fans, also received lengthy suspensions.
When the incident happened the Pacers, who’d had the league’s best record during the previous season, had the best record in the NBA and had just beaten their division rival and defending champion Pistons in Detroit. The depleted Pacers ended up finishing sixth in the East and losing in the second round of the Playoffs. They would not have another winning season until this year.
If you haven’t read Grantland’s oral history of the Pacers-Pistons brawl, do so now.
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9. November 20, 2004: Indefinitely for fighting with Pistons fans.
My research shows that two of Artest’s fourteen suspensions were related to the 2004 Pacers-Pistons brawl.
The morning following the incident, the league suspended indefinitely all players who had been involved. A day later the NBA announced specific suspensions for each player.
8. March 19, 2004: 1 game for a flagrant elbow.
The league suspended Artest, of the Pacers, for a single game for elbowing Derek Anderson of the Portland Trailblazers during a regular season game.
7. March 20, 2003: 2 games for accumulated flagrant foul points.
Players earn one flagrant foul point for every “Flagrant 1 Foul” (unnecessary contact) and two points for every “Flagrant 2 Foul” (unnecessary and excessive contact). A total of 8 points results in a two-game suspension.
6. March 13, 2003: 1 game for a flagrant foul.
The NBA suspended Artest for a flagrant foul in a game between his Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers.
5. March 9, 2003: 1 game for accumulated flagrant foul points.
See above for the description of flagrant foul points. A total of six such points results in a one-game suspension.
4. February 26, 2003: 1 game for disciplinary reasons.
The Indiana Pacers suspended Artest for a single game for unspecified disciplinary reasons.
3. January 29, 2003: 4 games for all sorts of stuff.
During a 2003 game between Artest’s Pacers and the Miami Heat, Artest flipped off the crowd, flagrantly fouled the Heat’s Caron Butler, “confronted and made contact” with Heat coach Pat Riley, and taunted the Heat bench. All of that earned Artest a four-game unpaid vacation.
Here’s what PTI had to say:
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2. January 4, 2003: 3 games for throwing a television monitor and smashing a camera.
Prior to the Thrilla in Auburn Hillas, this was probably the incident Artest was best known for.
Following a close loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Artest grabbed a television camera and threw it to the ground then took a high-def camera out of the hands of MSG cameraman Mike Miner and smashed it. The cost of the damage was a few hundred thousand dollars.
Sadly, I can’t find video of this incident on YouTube.
1. February 21, 2001: 1 game for fighting.
The NBA suspended Artest, then of the Chicago Bulls, for fighting with Glenn Robinson of the Milwaukee Bucks.