HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — So much for world peace!
Lakers forward Metta World Peace has no intention of making peace with Thunder sixth man James Harden when the Lakers travel to Oklahoma City for the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals.
After outlasting the Nuggets Saturday in Game 7 of the first round series, World Peace was asked if he would make any sort of gesture to move past the elbow he threw at Harden in an April 22 games that resulted in a concussion (for Harden) and a suspension (seven games for MWP).
“I don’t shake substitutes’ hands,” World Peace told reporters.
Outside a statement of apology issued shortly after the incident, World Peace steered clear of anything close to genuine remorse for his actions, which will no doubt make him an object of the eye of Thunder fans filling Chesapeake Energy Arena for Games 1 and 2.
World Peace turned the attention back to the Thunder, claiming that they’re not the sort of team that’s into shaking hands before, during or after games. He went so far as to suggest the Thunder, and particularly Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook, are the ones with the history of not being terribly good sports in the handshake department.
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com does his best to make a little sense of the madness:
“I shake everybody’s hand before the game, but Oklahoma City, they don’t shake hands,” World Peace said. “Only some of them, but I don’t think they really shake hands before the game. Kendrick Perkins and now (Russell) Westbrook don’t shake hands either. (Russell) used to shake hands, but now he don’t shake hands anymore.”
World Peace said that his failed handshake attempts with Perkins date back to the 2010 Finals when Perkins was a member of the Boston Celtics.
“I used to go and shake hands,” World Peace said. “I’ve been playing against Kendrick forever. Kendrick, he’ll never shake your hand so I’d have to go and find Kendrick and shake his hand. In Boston, every game I’d have to go to him and say, ‘Hey,’ and then tap him on the butt. He don’t touch my hand. But, I’m getting tired of making that walk.”
It’s not like this series needed any more fuel, on either side. But we have to thank MWP for doing his part to stoke the fires. And even if he tired of “making that walk,” it would be a fantastic gesture, public or private, for him to extend some sort of hand to Harden.
Then again, the league’s top “substitute” might not be interested in shaking his hand anyway. In fact, we’re guessing the only thing he’s interested in shaking is the roof off the building with his play in the series.
And thankfully, we only have a day to stew on all of this drama before the action gets underway!