Metta World Peace Lands Gig As High School Girls' Basketball Coach
The former Ron Artest and Lakers forward Metta World Peace will have a new team in the coming basketball season, but instead of playing in the NBA he'll be on the sidelines coaching the girls' basketball team for Palisades Charter High School.
World Peace will be an assistant to Dolphins head coach Torino Johnson, who tweeted the news on Wednesday. The two were already friends when Johnson coached World Peace's daughter Sadie four years ago, according to the O.C. Register.
"No one else that I know of in high school basketball has this opportunity, where they have a current NBA veteran on their coaching staff who can divulge that expertise," said Coach Johnson. "It's kind of all hands on deck for us and we're very fortunate and excited about him wanting to be a presence in our program."How much of a presence that will be remains in the air, as World Peace is not officially retired and could ostensibly return to an NBA roster this fall. He was cut from the New York Knicks back in February, but in a blog post at RantSports where he discusses the career move, he remained confident in his hoops skills while also explaining that coaching high school girls' basketball wasn't going to be a full-time gig.
Repeat before speaking: I am not retired. I am still so good. Wow, I'm good. I can still execute any offense a coach has at a high level. My team defense is still amazing and my one-on-one defense is better at my worst than some at their best. [...] I will not be doing appearances or commercials this season. I will use my off time when not resting to develop my girls team at Pali for about 45 minutes during practice when I can make it.
Both Coach Johnson and World Peace plan on using their partnership to put more of a focus and awareness on mental health issues in the game. Despite the progress made over the last few years with regards to dealing with mental health in all sports leagues, there is still a long way to go. World Peace donated the majority of his 2011-2012 salary and the proceeds from the sale of his championship ring to mental health charities, and famously thanked his therapist on TV after the Lakers won the 2010 NBA Championship, telling a reporter, "I'd like to thank my psychiatrist, Dr. Santhi. She really helped me relax."
Before he sought out help for his mental health issues and legally changed his name to Metta World Peace, the former Ron Artest had many run ins with the law and the disciplinary arm of the NBA. He was arrested for domestic abuse in 2007 when he was a member of the Sacramento Kings and most notably was a key participant in the infamous 'Malice at the Palace,' when the Detroit Pistons and his Indiana Pacers got into an ugly fight between themselves and fans in the stands.
Coach Torino Johnson has coached the Dolphins' girls' basketball team since 2007 and took them to a L.A. City Section Division 2 championship in 2012. Last season they went 21-12 and lost in the City Division 1 semifinals.