clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Metta World Peace explains how he broke Michael Jordan's ribs during a pick-up game

New, comment

Of course this is a thing that actually happened.

Mike and Mike

Metta World Peace didn't get a lot of minutes during the 2015-16 season for the Los Angeles Lakers, but the veteran forward has been in his fair share of physical battles throughout his 16-year career in the NBA. From Kobe Bryant to Paul Pierce, he's had quite a few memorable instances where he's annoyed one of the NBA's premier wing scorers.

World Peace's (then known as Ron Artest) most memorable on-court incident may have come outside the confines of an NBA game and involved a lot more than irritating the man known as the best player of all-time. During an interview with Molly Qerim of ESPN on Mike and Mike, World Peace confirmed a 15-year old report that he broke Michael Jordan's ribs during an offseason pick-up game in Chicago.

As only Metta could, he almost makes breaking someone's ribs during a basketball game sound totally innocent (h/t Chris Yuscavage of Complex for the transcripts):

So I was in a summer gym. R. Kelly would be there sometimes, Jordan, Barkley was there a couple times, and a lot of other NBA players. There were some really good games—tougher than the NBA games, real tough competition. And Jordan was posting me up. So I was trying to deny him, because when Jordan gets the ball, there was nothing you could do. He was gonna score. So I was trying to deny him and he was holding me, so I kind of tried to lift his arm up with my right hand and I accidentally hit him in the ribs with my elbow. And I accidentally broke his ribs.

No word on whether or not this created an unphotographed crying MJ, but James Harden just cringed somewhere after hearing the phrases "accidental" and "elbow" uttered by World Peace.

Still, as a self-identifying fan of Jordan, World Peace sounds like he felt really bad about the incident:

After his ribs broke, he had to take off three months. That season, he averaged 25 [points per game] and I always felt like, if that would have never happened, he would have averaged about 35. He was looking so good. He had to take off three months and still averaged 25 points [Complex Editor's note: MJ actually averaged 22.9 PPG that season.]. That hurt me a lot because I'm an MJ fan. I love Jordan.

Whenever Metta eventually decides to hang up his sneakers for good, it will be a huge loss for NBA fans everywhere if he doesn't get some type of podcast or TV show where he just tells stories about his career.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.