Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA on Tuesday for his flagrant foul on the Oklahoma City Thunder's James Harden.
The foul came in the second quarter of the Thunder-Lakers game on Sunday after World Peace threw his left elbow to the side of Harden's head just after the two came into contact.
The blow forced Harden to collapse to the court where he remained for quite a while before slowly walking off and immediately being taken to the locker room. He did not return for the second half.
“The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
The suspension will begin with the Lakers' next game at Sacramento on Thursday. The remaining games of the suspension will be served over the next six games in which the player is eligible and physically able to play, including this season's playoffs.
World Peace still hasn't answered media questions about his actions, but he issued a brief statement on his website, promising to follow up with a podcast.
“I apologize to the Oklahoma City Thunder fans and the OKC organization,” World Peace wrote on ronartest.com. “I look foward (sic) to getting back on the floor with my teammates and competing for the Lakers fans.”
World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, is no stranger to controversy in the NBA.
Here are some examples of World Peace's outrageous behavior throughout his career with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Rockets and Lakers:
1999: During rookie year with the Bulls, applies for a job at Circuit City to get an employee discount.
June 13, 2001: Artest breaks two of Michael Jordan's ribs during a pickup game. At the time, Artest told the Chicago Daily Herald he wasn't sure what happened, saying, “I read it in the paper and was like, “Man, Mike's ribs got broke. How'd his ribs get broke?”