Showtime documentary 'Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story' shows how raging NBA All-Star became Metta World Peace
Artest, albeit one of the greatest small forwards of all time, was best known for brawling with fans in Detroit back in 2004 in an event notoriously known as “Malice at the Palace”
Metta World Peace, previously known as Ron Artest, had to win a championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers in order to cleanse his tarnished career of an angry episode he once had in Detroit.
But before he could do that, the legendary defensive specialist had to heal his volatile mind. Artest grew up in a broken home at the Queensbridge housing project - a neighborhood plagued by drug dealing at the nadir of the crack era. When he was 13, his parents divorced and the family apartment was destroyed in a fire.
“I would not have been able to deal with the adversity. I would have been ejected,” he told the Associated Press (AP) after getting into therapy. “I would have probably gotten into a fight or done something stupid. I don’t think the old Ron Artest would have been ready for that final.”
Artest, albeit one of the greatest small forwards of all time, was best known for brawling with fans in Detroit back in 2004 in an event notoriously known as “Malice at the Palace.” Artest was a raw athlete through and through, often bringing playground grudges from the projects at Queensbridge onto the court and, in turn, harming the prospects of his own career.
Ever since the debacle, World Peace has not spoken to Pistons center Ben Wallace despite being friendly with one of the key instigators of the fight. Artest had committed a hard foul on Wallace during the final moments of the game, thereby initiating the fracas.
The wild skirmish among players and fans -- which occurred at the end of the match between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons -- was a seminal moment for the NBA. During the scuffle, Artest hacked Wallace on a drive, prompting Wallace to push him and a fan to lob a Diet Coke soda at him. What's next? The venue exploded in chaos, and the ugliness left an indelible mark on the league for years to come.
While the fight led to an 86-game suspension, a $5 million fine, and almost cost Artest his career, it also motivated him to turn over a new leaf.
The new World Peace became the best teammate one could ask for. The NBA champion was so grateful for a second chance, he raffled off his championship ring from 2010 and donated the proceeds to help mental health causes.
World Peace, 39, is finally at peace with himself and lives happily retired in Southern California, coaching future basketball stars and developing his various business interests. A new documentary based on his life is being broadcast by Showtime, and it is carefully timed for release during Mental Health Awareness Month.
The film recounts Artest's roller-coaster journey rising from a playground player in the projects to one of the most berated players in the NBA. Ending on a happy note, the documentary rehashes Artest's true reckoning when he finally won the championship season alongside Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“For me, I don’t really care necessarily how people look at me,” World Peace told AP. “I’m happy with just doing my daily routine and enjoying life. I’m not looking for any feedback or publicity or to build my image.” In a bid to guide us through his extraordinary story as intimately as possible, the producers of “Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story” went to sources who were directly involved with World Peace.
The documentary features Ron Artest Sr., his father, who fondly remembers playing one-on-one with his son on the Queensbridge playground courts in freezing 10-degree weather. He recalls how he denied the younger Artest layups at all costs - thereby honing the future star's unique playing style and strengthening his characteristic endurance.
While a good part of the documentary revolves around the November 2004 game in Detroit, Artest still remains unapologetic for storming into the stands that fateful night. Following the altercation, NBA commissioner David Stern suspended World Peace for the remainder of the season and modified rules and policies to prevent such situations.
The break forced World Peace to mull his future and undergo therapy and medication. However, it was only after he started playing in Sacramento in 2008 that he finally began embracing a new approach to life -- setting limits for himself and exercising control over his emotions. During the 2010 Lakers championship celebration, World Peace famously thanked his psychotherapist for turning his life around.
'Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story,' produced by Bleacher Report, will appear on Showtime Friday, May 31, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.