NBA

Metta World Peace Faces Possible Final Lakers Home Game

Metta World Peace won an NBA championship with the 2009-2010 Los Angeles Lakers

Metta World Peace's most famous moment as a Los Angeles Lakers player is hitting a three-pointer in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to effectively seal the victory for the purple and gold over the Boston Celtics.

Since the LA Lakers gave World Peace a chance to re-enter the rotation in San Antonio on April 5, LA has not lost a game. Yes, in these unfamiliar times, World Peace continues to flourish nearly 18 seasons into his professional career.

LA Lakers guard Metta World Peace had a look at a game-winning three-pointer, but his leg seemed to be twitching before he shot it, and teammate Jordan Clarkson described the action in a unique way. Recorded at Staples Center on April 9, 2017. (Shahan Ahmed)

Ask the 37-year-old directly and he'll let you know quickly that his goal to play 20 years has not wavered. He's not even thinking about the possibility that Tuesday could be the last time he graces the Lakers' court at Staples Center, let alone any court in the NBA.

"What's Tuesday?" World Peace answers with a question when asked about his thoughts on what could potentially be the last time he wears the Lakers' purple and gold.

"I don't have any thoughts on that," World Peace responds ahead of the penultimate home game of the season.

"It's your last game, Metta! It's your last game, Metta!" Nick Young acts as the joker in the background, egging on the veteran for a reaction but mainly enjoying laughing at his own colorful commentary.

"If I had a thought, I'd share it," World Peace laughs off the questions and the commentary and starts into his broken record routine of smiling while talking about having fun, keeping "it" simple and, naturally, missing breakfast.

"If I start thinking about that, then, I might miss a meal," World Peace says regarding falling into the mindset of being nostalgic about Tuesday night -- or that sentiment in general. "I might miss my breakfast or something, and I'm not missing my breakfast. I'm not doing that."

While World Peace's leg shake nearly cost the Lakers' the game against Minnesota, the team's most senior player remains glued to the leader board at the facility. The board counts victories in practice, and more than anyone else on the Lakers, World Peace's team wins. So, it can't be a coincidence that the Lakers have won four games in a row for the first time since Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and, well, World Peace combined for a furious finish to the 2012-13 season, can it?

With his tone and with his words, the Queensbridge native illustrates that the finish line may be set, but he's not crossing that line just yet.

"Everybody's different, right?" the veteran responds when reminded he's a few months older than his coach. "It depends on your injuries or how you take care of yourself. The main reason you retire is because of injuries. Luke (Walton) retired because his back was hurt.

World Peace adds, "But it's definitely not easy. It's definitely not easy."

He talks about his focus on nutrition and the impact changing his diet had on his longevity.

"Kobe had 60!" Young's voice jumps over the wall of reporters, intending and succeeding in teasing the occupant of the only corner office in the Lakers' locker room.

"I ain't going nowhere (sic)," World Peace snaps back at Young, with his trademark jovial grin.

Young's reminder of the 60-point finale Kobe Bryant put out in his final game leads World Peace to respond further: "If I could get like five assists, I'd be happy."

After World Peace talks about how he continues to adjust his diet, discusses the irony in how fans used to boo every time he shot, and shoots down a couple more attempts to ask about retirement, he peeks at the clock in the locker room, gets up and runs onto the court at Staples Center to get up his pregame warm-up shots.

That night, which happened to be Sunday night, World Peace finished with a season-high eight points.

With World Peace no longer around, a reporter turns to Young and says with a smile, "O.k. Nick, now your turn. Tuesday could be your last day playing for the Lakers at home…"

Young, who has the ability to opt out of the final year of his contract at $5.6 million, laughs. He hasn't played a game in four weeks.

Notes: Lakers coach Luke Walton said he plans on playing World Peace on Tuesday and looks forward to the crowd enjoying the veteran's presence, regardless of what the future holds. On Monday, Walton even said the 37-year-old may start in place of D'Angelo Russell, who has been excused from the team, though that scenario playing out is not likely.

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