Metta World Peace reveals how he adapted from Kobe Bryant’s rival to his ally
Before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2009, Metta World Peace had a fierce rivalry with Kobe Bryant. The two would always have intense battles whenever Kobe’s Lakers would take on World Peace’s Houston Rockets.
So when the Lakers signed World Peace as an unrestricted free agent, some pundits around the league questioned whether or not the NBA Bad Boy would mesh with Bryant since they had a documented beef.
However, according to World Peace, he and Bryant never had any issues. The two were just intense competitors who had respect for each other, which was why they always took their matchups seriously.
In Episode 1 of ClutchPoints’ The Final Ring docuseries about Kobe and the Lakers, World Peace spoke about how he and Bryant went from adversaries to brothers.
“When you’re competing, and you’re trying to be the best, you got a lot of people trying to be the best…I’m one of those types of people,” World Peace said.
“So if I see someone in front of me, I don’t like that person… With Kobe, it wasn’t beef. It was respect.”
Bryant won his fifth title with L.A. and second straight Finals MVP, while World Peace finally got his first championship after years of struggling to get to the top.
The Black Mamba averaged 28.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists in the Finals versus the Celtics. World Peace, meanwhile, put up 10.6 points, 4.6 boards and 1.3 assists. MWP, who was known as Ron Artest at the time, also hit a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter of Game 7 with 1:01 left to give the Lakers a six-point lead.
Kobe and World Peace may have started out as rivals, but it was not born out of hate. It was simply their competitive nature and desire to be the best.