There are some things in life you just have to hear for your own to believe. The following interview is one of those things. More than seven years after the Malice at the Palace — the brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers — Metta World Peace is now friends with the guy who basically instigated it all. John Green says he had been drinking, but the cup he actually threw at the guy then known as Ron Artest was actually filled with Diet Coke. Both World Peace and Green have had their share of issues, but have worked or are working through them and they’re now talking about working together to help others in their similar circumstances to talk about their problems and overcome them.
Metta World Peace and John Green joined ESPN Los Angeles with Mason and Ireland to discuss how they became friends, why the cup was thrown in the first place, the weirdness of them becoming friends since then, what they’re trying to do now and why Artest laid down on the scorer’s table.
How did you become friends with John Green, the guy who threw the cup at
you that ended up instigating the brawl?:
“What happened was, when I got into the brawl in Detroit, I was transitioning into a different type of person, that person that I’ve become, but that game had so many emotions involved. So I get suspended and I think the whole world hates me and I’m walking around not wanting to talk to anybody. Then my psychologist, I was talking to her about a few things and I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to reach out to John.’ So I went on Twitter and said, ‘Anybody that can find me this guy’s number or information, I’ll take you out to lunch.’ … Somebody from Chicago found his number … so I called him and his wife picks up the phone. And I said, ‘Hey, this is Ron Artest. I’d like to speak to John.’ … Then I spoke to John and he answered the phone like he knew I was going to call.”
John, is that the way you remember it?:
“That was, he pretty much hit it right on the head. … I never knew, really, that that was going to happen, but it was weird. Just to clear things up, it wasn’t a beer that I threw. It was a Diet Coke.”
Why did you throw the Diet Coke?:
“It was really weird, and to tell you the truth, I have nothing whatsoever against Ron Artest or any of the Indiana Pacers. In fact, that was like the biggest draw, to go see the Pacers and the Pistons go head to head. … It was a blowout, literally. They were smoking the Pistons and I usually would have walked out and been over at the bar. But then the whole thing took place … and Artest went over on the bench and laid down. And everybody’s sitting there booing him for laying on the table and harassing him in good nature and kids were throwing their popcorn at him. … I told my buddy, ‘I bet I could nail him from right here.’”
John, how weird is it now that you and Ron are friends?:
“Ron’s a good guy. And you wanna know what? I like to think the same thing about myself. Yes, I’ve made bad choices and maybe Ron has, too, but I think he and I are very similar. We’re very passionate people, but we admit when we’re wrong, too. … Right away, because Ron’s so soft-spoken, I thought it was Michael Jackson or something. … We just started talking and we hit it off. He apologized and I did. … It came from him and it takes a lot to do something like that.”
On what he and Ron are doing:
“What Ron’s doing, and what we’re talking about doing together, is getting out and reaching out to people that have similar issues as we do and talking about it, because that’s what it’s all about. It’s getting over the hurdles in life and getting past them and using what we’ve done as a mistake.”
On why he went to the scorer’s table and laid down in the first place:
“At that time, I was still seeing psychologists so I was just practicing how to relax. At that point in my career, I’m on edge every single game. I absolutely want to go out for the kill and win every single game. So she’s like, ‘You’ve got to relax.’ I was practicing exactly what she told me and this guy was thinking this thing, and then, boom.”