World Peace laces up for ‘Dancing’ Premiere

What kind of dancer can we expect Metta World Peace to be? You’ve seen him run the fast break haven’t you? Go ahead and YouTube it. It’s not like you’re doing anything else mid-week without a basketball game playing every night.

It’s clumsy, chaotic, and ugly all rolled into one and until that relief of seeing the ball fall through the hoop sets in, is the sequence beautifully mind boggling. Of course it doesn’t always work that way for World Peace, alas the basketball doesn’t always glide perfectly through the netting. In basketball, it sometimes doesn’t matter how aesthetically pleasing the game looks between the first quarter and the last so long as the end result is a win for your team.

Ballroom dancing isn’t quite the same.

Dancing isn’t technical, it’s about technique. It’s not so much about the preciseness of each individual move as it is a series of moves that when thrown together flow harmoniously. Each step taken isn’t just a means to an end, but more the end is a direct result of the means or the way in which each step is presented. That being said, things aren’t looking so good for World Peace.

So maybe World Peace isn’t your prototypical athlete turned Fred Astaire, but there’s one thing that he has working for him and that’s his fearlessness of failure.

In accepting the challenge of dancing on national television, deviating about as far away from his comfort zone as the Lakers were in securing their 17th championship last season, World Peace hasn’t actually failed at all. Just by signing his former name on the dotted line, World Peace secured at the very least $125,000 for the Cancer Research Foundation. That’s not including whatever else he receives after advancing in further rounds of competition.

World Peace fails, at times, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t giving 100-percent of himself to the project at hand. Could he maybe have been more productive for the Lakers during their playoff run last May? Sure. However, in case the passing of time has jogged your memory, every Laker could’ve (and very well should’ve) been more productive in late spring. The only difference is World Peace’s antics off the basketball court give fans the perception that his priorities are listed as distractions first, basketball second. These distractions are only amusing when the Lakers are winning, however if the Lakers fall short, World Peace is labeled as deterred and unfocused.

That’s particularly unfair for World Peace, but finicky fans are always going to err on the side of whatever produces wins. As far as “Dancing With the Stars” is concerned, it’ll never interfere with the Lakers regular season, should it even start on time, because his contract allows him to stop once basketball resumes. But if it’s not dancing for a good cause, it’ll be recording a rap song, contemplating what sport he can throw himself into once his basketball days are over or even speaking in support of mental health education. There’s always going to be something else other than hoops occupying the space in World Peace’s cerebrum.

Whatever side projects World Peace takes on outside of basketball are ultimately his business despite whatever entitlement fan’s feel they have over his affairs. It’s time to stop blaming World Peace’s laundry list of side projects on his overall production during the year. If his game has diminished it’s because he’s not the player he once was, both on offense and defense. He can still lock guys down, but doesn’t have quite the lateral quickness he once had that enabled him to keep Carmelo Anthony’s points in single digits or LeBron James’ assist total to zero.

Although this was true last year, the new season brings hope that World Peace will do better under a different style of offense and under a new defensive-minded coach.

Until World Peace laces up his dancing shoes in tonight’s premiere of “Dancing With the Stars,” we won’t know exactly how his errant style of ball handling will translate on the dance floor, but we will know this much. While World Peace’s efforts are sometimes muddled by his various side projects, there’s an understanding that it’s all just part of his plan to keep his mind occupied.

Basketball just comes so naturally to him, that he doesn’t have to think it through as much while he’s on court. Dancing however, is a whole different story, but if his personality is any indication—it won’t be any less entertaining to watch him try.

Dancing With the Stars premiers tonight on ABC. Check your local listings or do like me and wait for the highlight reel to pop up on SportsCenter.

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