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Ex-Lakers’ star Metta World Peace shares ‘water boy’ plea to Team USA

Lakers, Metta World Peace, Team USA

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Metta World Peace was never able to be part of Team USA, but he firmly believes he should have been given a chance to represent the nation.

In his recent interview on Basketball News, World Peace spoke about his bitter memories with Team USA and the Olympics–sharing his feeling that he had been “shortchanged” of the chance to be part of the elite group. Specifically in the 2004 Olympics, the rugged defender was snubbed from the squad and didn’t even make the Select team to practice with the team.

“I had to call the Olympic office myself. And I got no return call. And I was like, ‘Just let me try out.’ I understand I wasn’t the greatest player to be around at that time and some players did not want to play with me, but I was like, ‘Give me a chance to take that player’s spot,'” the ex-Lakers champion said.

Metta World Peace was an NBA All-Star in the 2003-04 season with the Indiana Pacers, ending the campaign as part of the All-NBA Third Team. He also won the Defensive Player of the Year award in the same year, so his frustrations for not being chosen as part of Team USA is understandable.

The then Ron Artest averaged 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game. While he admitted he could be a “headcase” and “real volatile” at the time, he still thinks he should have been given at least a tryout. His snub wasn’t for the lack of trying, too, as he shared he even volunteered to be the water boy just to be with the team.

“I even told them I would get the water. I literally called the office. I told my agent, ‘Can I even be the water boy? Something?’ So every time someone brings up the Olympians, I rant, I rant I rant. I am an Olympian, for sure. I am an Olympian, a gold medalist, and I truly believe that,” he added.

While World Peace wasn’t able to fulfill his Olympic dream, he’s still thankful for his NBA career. After all, he became a champion with the Lakers in 2010 and had 17 fruitful years in the league.