Lakers News: Metta World Peace Wanted Jersey No. 60 To Honor Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Lakers
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers emerged victorious in their preseason opener, in a 103-84 comeback victory against the Sacramento Kings. After struggling to begin the game, the team bursted for a 39-point fourth quarter and sealed the victory.

While the team continues to get adjusted to Luke Walton’s new system, the team must also begin gelling with one another to form a cohesive unit. In order to bond, the altering personalities must become accustomed to each other.

No other player may have a greater personality on and off the court than Metta World Peace. The 16-year veteran has provided constant enthusiasm to the young core of the Lakers, while providing a veteran presence for them to learn from.

The New York native signed a one-year deal in the offseason and upon signing the deal, World Peace stated his excitement about his return and how he is cherishing the opportunity in the twilight of his career.

The 36-year-old has been through ups and downs during his NBA career, climaxing during the Lakers 2010 championship run. Paired with Kobe Bryant, World Peace meshed into the championship group and provided the defensive stability against stars like Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant.

World Peace ultimately became one of Bryant’s favorite teammates and was on hand for Bryant’s Hollywood ending, where he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz. Coming into the 2016-17 season, the 2003-04 Defensive Player of the Year wanted to commemorate Bryant, with a slight nod to the legend.

When talking about his return to the Lakers, World Peace stated that his jersey was going to be a memento of Bryant and his performance, via Bill Oram of the O.C. Register:

“I so wanted that No. 60,” he said. “That’s all I was talking about, if I got back to the Lakers, was changing my number to 60.”

However, upon World Peace resigning with the team, he found out the deadline to change his number had passed. The 1999 first-round pick stated he was honored to be at the finale, capping off Bryant’s tremendous career.

In typical World Peace fashion, he wanted to surprise his former teammate, but was indifferent about being denied the opportunity:

“I wanted to surprise him,” World Peace said of the tribute. “I was so honored to be there. But, whatever.”

World Peace did not play in the preseason opener against the Kings, but should see action heading forward. While the roster gets accustomed to Walton’s new system, World Peace and his fellow teammates should see an opportunity to claim a roster spot.

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