With the NBA’s 22-team format approved, the New York Knicks have wrapped up their seventh straight season without a playoff appearance, tied for the longest stretch in franchise history. The Knicks haven’t been particularly competitive throughout this stretch either, averaging just 26 wins per season. One guy who desperately wants to save the Knicks is Metta World Peace.
Metta World Peace, formerly known as NBA star Ron Artest, grew up in Queensbridge, New York just 20 minutes east of the world-renowned Madison Square Garden. He watched the Patrick Ewing-led Knicks go to 13 straight postseasons from 1988 to 2000, with two NBA Finals appearances in 1994 and 1999. The only thing that stopped them from more dominant runs in the East were the Chicago Bulls, who defeated them six times in eight postseasons.
Now, World Peace wants to bring the Knicks back to their glory days, and thinks he can do so if selected as the team’s new head coach. He recently tweeted out that he wanted to coach the Knicks, and he joined ClutchPoints’ Battle for LA Podcast with Tomer Azarly and Ryan Ward to address his comments.
“Listen, I don’t want anybody’s job,” Metta clarified before getting into details. “I love sports. As you can see, I’m launching a sports company. You know, ClutchPoints has been very supportive. 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.
“If someone else has the job, I’m gonna support them. I want to see the Knicks win. I heard Mike Woodson’s name is back, great coach. Mike Miller from last year, great coach. I absolutely don’t want anybody else’s job and right now I’m not prepared to be an assistant because I’m having too much fun doing what I’m doing. I’m coaching tons of players right now, and it’s about to expand. I’m having a great time.”
The last NBA championship in New York came in 1973, when the team led by Phil Jackson, Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Earl Monroe, and Bill Bradley defeated the Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West-led Los Angeles Lakers.
The current Knicks squad is nowhere near a championship contender. Superstar free agents have looked past the Knicks for better options, the franchise has made very questionable decisions in the last few years with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, and owner James Dolan has been more focused on the fans upset with the team rather than looking at why they’re upset with the team.
In two years, 2023 will mark 50 years since the last title, and Metta knows that’s far too long for the storied franchise to go without having won a title.
“That Knicks job … ?” World Peace paused, fascinated with the idea of being the coach. “I’m from New York City. You gotta understand, I’m right across the water. A lot of these players and coaches don’t know what we’ve been through. We have not won a championship in years. I’m from New York City, the biggest federal housing project in the country. We are Knick fans and we don’t win. The last that they won was in ’70 and ’73 with Phil Jackson and Clyde [Frazier]. That’s a major problem. This is almost 50 years! This is going on 50 years now! I would love to coach, but I don’t care [who does it]. I was an extremely intelligent player. I’ve seen every single offense thrown at me because the coaches were trying to get me off of their best offensive players because I was like a hyena. I’ve seen every single offensive strategy to try to get me down.”
Metta was a unique player in his time. He was never touted for his offensive game, but was able to score the ball at will if it was required of him (ie. the Pacers, Kings, and Rockets). His bread-and-butter was as an absolute pest on defense, often guarding the other team’s best player. The four-time All-Defensive team member won Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.
World Peace’s career broke through in 2010 when he (then Ron Artest) replaced Trevor Ariza on the Lakers and was crucial in defeating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
That taste of victory hasn’t left World Peace, and he wants to bring that to New York as the non-traditional head coach.
“This is bigger than just coaching with suits and trying to please someone. If I win this title for New York City if I was given the opportunity … Everybody’s got their chance except the hood dude like me. Everybody’s got their chance. I represent different types of people, but the different types of people that I represent, it doesn’t mean that we are not the same.”
His first order of business as coach of the New York Knicks? Get Knicks fans to settle down.
“If I get the head coaching job, I told people I’m going at the fans first,” World Peace admitted. “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. Right when we’re about the win, the fans gotta come in, start banging the drums, get rid of everybody, I mean, we’re building something here. That’s gotta hear that direct. People don’t like to hear that and that’s the type of person I am and that’s gonna be my first [agenda] and I’m gonna address that.
“Look at the Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs, those fans, they ride and they die for the San Antonio Spurs. 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?”
If Metta World Peace were to become the head coach of the New York Knicks right now, he might be the sole reason to watch them play. At the end of the day, however, all Metta wants is to bring glory back to the Mecca of Basketball.
You can listen to the entire podcast with Metta World Peace here:
Apple: Battle for LA Podcast
Spotify: Battle for LA Podcast