It was something of a surprise when the Los Angeles Lakers opted to keep forward Metta World Peace on their roster this season. After all, the 37-year-old is well past his prime, but with a young and impressionable roster, World Peace was tabbed as a veteran mentor who could help show the kids the ropes.
It’s a situation that doesn’t often happen in the NBA, but World Peace is actually older than head coach Luke Walton, who is the youngest in the league at 36. Despite that, the always quotable World Peace has an enormous amount of respect for his coach, who he couldn’t help but rave about in an interview with ESPN’s Tim MacMahon:
A lot of the guys who said the Lakers were not going to win, those guys have never been champions. They never played. Luke is a champion. If you’ve never been a champion, you don’t know what it takes. Luke knows what it takes. That’s why a lot of the guys that are saying the Lakers won’t do anything, they don’t really understand. Luke knows what it takes to win.
World Peace wasn’t done there. He went into detailing explaining just what it is about Walton that makes him so great, and also made a prediction that just might raise a few eyebrows:
His will and his heart. A lot of people don’t have that will to get him over the top. Luke is constantly teaching. We’re always getting better every single day. I just want to learn more and more. Luke is teaching me a lot also. … I’m still learning about cutting, I’m learning about timing. It’s been great for me to learn from such a great coach like Luke. He’s definitely going to be in the Hall of Fame. I can see him in the Hall of Fame, absolutely, one day.
Despite the current seven-game losing streak that the Lakers are enduring, Walton still has the team outperforming expectations this season. If he can indeed bring the Lakers back to the top of the NBA, then World Peace’s Hall-of-Fame prediction just may come true.