“LeBron at 15-years old was killing it,” World Peace said last month via Instagram Live.
“But nobody at that age could give MJ a run for his money. MJ would have averaged 35 if I didn’t break his ribs. He averaged 25 and he had to sit out 3 months…at 38 years old. LeBron was definitely killing it. He was big and strong and they couldn’t guard him.”
A defensive stopper, World Peace, whose birth name is Ron Artest was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 16th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft out of St. John’s University. An NBA Champion with the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers team from 2010, he’s also an NBA All Star and a one-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
A native of Queens, New York, World Peace played high school hoops at La Salle Academy in Manhattan and is respected in the streetball circuit even by his opponents for his contribution at Rucker Park.
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, streetball legend, Corey “Homicide” Williams tells me about the time he went head to head on the basketball court with Metta World Peace.
“The toughest game I played in my life at that point, was Ron Artest,” Williams, a current NBL analyst told me.
“I had done TORCHED plenty NBA players that have come to the park… 40’s, 30’s – you know, I done torched a lot of dudes in that park. But he was Defensive Player of the Year it was ’05. It was Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest. It was Indiana Pacer Ron Artest. And this specific summer we played against Tony Rosen and his team up at Rucker that was FUBU. I played with Don Diva – shout out to Black Fluid which is the home team Harlem with myself and Bone Collector in the backcourt of course, and they brought Ron Artest up there for me. We played them in the regular season and I gave him about 35 and they were like, ‘We need somebody to stop him. We gonna beat them in the playoffs.’ So Ron Artest shows up in the park and for me, it – you kill a lot of NBA guys when they come to the park, and yeah you kill regular street ball guys, but where you’re trying to go to you know, this is what it’s about. What are you going to do when a marquee star in the NBA comes – not only a marquee star but, a Defensive Player of the Year; the best defender in the world… and he’s a New Yorker so you already know the type of D that he’s playing… 6’7” Fiery, strong as an ox and the New York mentality already. Whatcha gonna do today?”
Williams then details their matchup.
It wasn’t easy.
“He blocked my shot a couple of times, picked my pocket, started talking shit ,” he tells Scoop B Radio.
“I finished the game with 27, I got the MVP of Rucker because of that performance. And we ended up losing by two, the double teams started coming. I could not believe what I saw. I was so shocked in disbelief, as soon as I could make a move, the double came. I kicked it out real quick like, ‘Oh shit, what the fuck? Because this is the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA! Why would he need a double?’… Mentally that took me to a whole other level and word spread like crazy. You know, it was even factually said that in that game, there was a time out like I went by him and crossed, he reached I crossed, I went to the basket and dunked that shit so hard, the basketball hit the court when it came out of the rim how I dunked it so hard. BOOM! And it spiked and popped all the way up and Tony Rosen called time out. Crowd went crazy. And he goes and he says, ‘Yo, who is this guy?’ and Tony Rosa said, ‘That’s Homicide. Don’t worry about that. We got to win this game.’… they ended up winning by two, but that was the game that mentally not only signed me to the sneaker deal K1X the sneaker company he was with, that was the company I ended up getting my sneaker deal with – globally in Foot Locker International. They made the ‘187’ which stood for Homicide. And he was with K1X as well. We were on K1X together. So, after that game, it made me realize that NOBODY in the world one-on-one could guard me.”
Corey “Homicide” Williams is best known for his time spent in the Australian National Basketball League where he earned league MVP honors in 2010 with the Townsville Crocodiles.
Williams did get a crack at the NBA in 2005 when he signed with the Toronto Raptors for training camp. He averaged 4.0 points and 1.0 assists in four pre-season games for the Raptors before being waived.
He’s had stops in the NBA with stops with the Indiana Pacers in the NBA’s Summer League with the Indiana Pacers and a cup of coffee with the Denver Nuggets.
Currently, Metta World Peace is a player development coach of the South Bay Lakers, the teams developmental league team. He has not officially retired from NBA basketball but has career averages of 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest.