With the Los Angeles Lakers off to a surprising 4-3 start this season, they have captivated the NBA and have demonstrated a certain ability to succeed under the influence of head coach Luke Walton. The young core is showing signs of growth and maturity, while veteran leaders, such as Metta World Peace, are guiding the team in the right direction.
Although World Peace hasn’t seen consistent playing time this season, he remains an optimistic and a vocal leader on this new era of Lakers basketball. The team has won three consecutive contests, with the Lakers above .500 for the first time since December of 2013.
The team is enjoying the freedom with their new coach, with guard Jordan Clarkson saying he would run through a wall for Walton.
Recently World Peace garnered a lot of attention after blurting out ‘I Love Basketball’ while taking free throws during a game. It became so popular that the rest of the Lakers adopted the phrase going forward.
After each group huddle the Lakers will break by saying the phrase and the team has turned it into a mantra of sorts.
According to Mark Medina of the O.C. Register, World Peace appreciates the love the phrase has gotten and wants to team to continue having fun:
Regardless, World Peace found the gesture a positive reflection on how the Lakers have tried to grow by mixing work with playfulness.
“We really believe we can get somewhere special this year,” World Peace said. “We want to have fun and not let it affect our play. We talked about that early. Whoever is on the floor is having fun and playing a great time.”
The Lakers have certainly exceeded expectations thus far into the tenure of Walton, with some players attempting to prove their doubters wrong.
Walton was asked about the new phrase, which has even earned a spot on the Lakers’ Snapchat filter, stating that it is all right as long as World Peace is in a good mood:
“They enjoy it. But I told them they better watch out,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said before Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. “I hope Metta’s not having a bad day. If they keep messing with him, he might end up hurting one of them.”
The young core should be mindful of the 17-year veteran, who certainly is not a player who takes any trash talking lightly. The powerful forward remains one of the most intimidating players in the NBA, even when he is delightful and having fun.
World Peace is only averaging three minutes per game, but understands his role with the team. When called upon, he will always bring that ferocity and tenaciousness that has turned him into an All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year and NBA champion.