When the Los Angeles Lakers defended their NBA title in 2010, most of the roster from the previous year’s championship team remained the same. The biggest change made was the addition of defensive specialist, Metta World Peace.
Stepping into the starting small forward role for the departed Trevor Ariza, World Peace provided an extra edge and toughness that the Lakers needed. He also made some huge plays in the playoffs to help lift the Lakers to their second straight championship.
In an interview with Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, World Peace looked back on that time and winning his only ring:
“For me, it was great because something I always wanted [was] a ring, and I got it here,” World Peace told Basketball Insiders. “That’s pretty much all I was playing for; I didn’t really care about nothing else. I got it with the Lakers and they gave me an opportunity to play for probably one of the best franchises in the world: Maccabi, Lakers, Yankees, Cowboys.”
These days World Peace serves more as a mentor for the Lakers’ young players, not seeing a lot of on-court time. His head coach, and former teammate, Luke Walton spoke highly of what World Peace has brought to the team, while also admitting he wouldn’t have thought it was possible when playing against him:
“He’s done an incredible job of evolving and being the person that he is today. He deserves a lot of credit. He’s openly said he works with a shrink or what not. He’s great in the locker room. He’s great talking to the young guys. He’s great with the way he works, and he takes care of himself. I saw that in Metta when I played as his teammate, but when I played against him, I probably wouldn’t have guessed that would be the case.”
World Peace will always be loved by Lakers fans for his role in the 2010 championship. His game-winner in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and his back-breaking three-pointer in Game 7 against Boston are probably his biggest career highlights.
The fact that he has so willingly taken a backseat and looks to help the young players says a lot about his character. It also bodes well for his eventual transition into coaching, which is his ultimate goal after his playing days are done.