Rudy Tomjanovich's Reaction to Metta World Peace's Elbow Speaks Volumes

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By Rob Kotaska

Mr. Artest, World Peace Would Like Its Good Name Back…

Artest, World Peace, whatever name he chooses Ron (or Metta) has shown himself to be a world-class numbskull.  The guy(or his agent) was obviously desperate to try to repair the damage the borderline superstar inflicted on his marketability back in 2004 when he was a major part of the “Malice at the Palace” that he ended up on “Dancing With the Stars”.  That reeks of desperation in getting the unwashed to see you as acceptable outside of your chosen profession.  (It didn’t work, he was out first.)

Then Sunday…oh man.  I heard about the ‘bow heard around the NBA on ESPN Radio on my way back from work.  At first what bothered me was that it was happening to a player I admire. I’ve been a fan of James Harden’s game since the Cuse escorted him and his Sun Devils out of the tourney some years ago.  He was a concern before that March game, and while his team lost you could see his value as a pro prospect.  The radio guys made Metta’s ‘bow sound less deliberate than it played to me when I saw it this morning.

It is a really upsetting image, and I see no reason to re-post it here.  What was he thinking?

Then I read the story about how Rudy Tomjanovich reacted when he saw the elbow.  And my empathy spread out a bit.

It just so happened that Tomjanovich, who provides statistical analysis for the Lakers, walked into the media room shortly afterward. When a replay of World Peace’s play was about to come on a TV monitor just above our heads, he turned away right before World Peace flung the elbow. Later, another replay came on. This time Tomjanovich caught it, then looked down. Tomjanovich said the reason his play still stands out four decades later is so many punches thrown since then have missed.

It broke my heart for the man to see someone go through something similar.  When Kermit Washington broke Rudy’s face it was the last straw for a league that at the time saw its popularity wane to the point it was running its national games on CBS late night on tape delay.

The NBA is much more popular today than that era.  Still, here’s hoping that Stern and the folks in New York do what the NHL has failed to do, if only to protect the league: nip this violence in the bud before it gets out of hand.

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