For his entire career, his entire life perhaps – whether he was Ron Artest from Queensbridge or Metta World Peace out in L.A. – the desire has been the same.
Fit in. Be liked. Be one of the guys. Get out on the basketball court and win every last battle, be it a stray rebound or NBA title.
It's been a tortured process always, filled with flare-ups big and small, with suspensions minor and memorable. It's always been the same, just when you think you can count on the guy, he does something to prove you can't.
The NBA suspended World Peace on Tuesday" is a headline that will cause laughs for everyone who doesn't deep down feel for the man in the middle. It's seven games this time for M.W.P., a pittance compared to the 86 he missed for charging into the stands in Auburn Hills, Mich., in 2004, looking to pummel whoever threw a beer at him.
This one hurts plenty though because he's 32 now and supposed to be past this nonsense. He's embraced (publicly even) psychotherapy. He's talked such a good game. He even changed his name. And it hurts because it'll cost the Los Angeles Lakers, cost them big time.