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Metta World Peace has never quite lived up to his name

MettWorld Peace or RArtest—name changes but game remains same.

Metta World Peace or Ron Artest—the name changes but the game remains the same.

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Updated: April 24, 2012 3:28PM

Metta World War says he is sorry about that elbow. How nice. Perhaps James Harden will appreciate the apology, once his brain stops doing the tango.

When last we saw Harden, he was sprawled on the court of the Staples Center, looking as if he had either wandered into an NHL playoff game or tried to throw a pass against the New Orleans Saints.

Anyone else note the irony of a man lying prone on the ground, a victim of the reigning holder of the NBA J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award?

For now, Harden will be missing from the Oklahoma City Thunder with a concussion, until the doctors say otherwise. He is listed as day-to-day after beginning tests under the league-mandated concussion policy on Monday in Oklahoma City. And Metta World Suspension will almost surely be missing from the Los Angeles Lakers with a sanction, until the NBA says otherwise.

The number of games decided by the main office should not be the measure. If Harden’s absence continues, there is no justice.

Metta World Cheap Shot says he didn’t mean to do it. It was all an accident, the emotions of the day. Just like a lot of defendants say in court, looking innocently at the jury.

Study the replay again, since it was harder to miss Monday than beer commercials. If you had just inadvertently slammed your elbow into another man’s temple, wouldn’t you pause to see if the poor guy’s head was still attached? Metta World Knucklehead never looked back, but rather rolled on down the court, happy with his world and full of himself.

When some of the other Thunder players approached to file personal objections, he seemed to brace for more combat. Hardly the body language of a man grieved about an unintended blow.

No, if not premeditated malice, this seems at the very least an intentional reaction to the situation. He did not wish Harden in his airspace since important business was at hand. There was a dunk to celebrate.

Besides, he could always apologize later on Twitter.

So there is unrest once more around Metta World What’s Next? Remind me again why we should be surprised.

Never mind the new name, dry cleaned image, or elapsed time since the last mindless incident. When push comes to shove, and shove comes to elbows, he is still Ron Artest.

By all accounts, there is no cause to think him a vicious or mean man. There seems a certain charm to the fellow, some of the time. There are occasions his heart shows. His contributions to the cause of mental health are real.

But too many days, he has been, and still is, Metta World Selfish. Not a thought seems to cross his mind at those mad moments about how his actions can harm his teammates, and his game.

If he truly understood, why would Nov. 19, 2004 not have changed him forever? That was the brawl at Auburn Hills when he was with Indiana, his blind-rage charge into the stands, his punch of a spectator, the 86-game suspension that followed.

It took the Pacers years to recover, an entire franchise nearly wrecked by the lost head of one player. The NBA saw one of its darkest nights. You’d have thought that would set a man straight for good.

But Sunday, he was Metta World Same Old Thing. He might have had his honorable moments since 2004, but he is who he is. The rap sheet is long, and not closed.

In this spring of sporting violence -- a Gregg Williams bounty speech here, hockey attacks there -- the NBA hardly wanted to join the trend, just in time for its postseason promos.

NBA playoffs, where assault happens?

Meanwhile, the Lakers, who already have had to make do with injuries, must almost surely start the title chase short-handed.

Metta World Unthinking’s doing, and his alone.

To say he needs to learn from this is laughable. He is 32, and Sunday was his 903rd game as an NBA player. Just when is this great awakening supposed to come?

Anyone named Metta World Peace -- if he means what he says -- would never, ever, ever let an incident like Sunday happen.

But it did.

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