In 18 years of professional basketball, Ron Artest—aka Metta World Peace—played for six NBA teams and two international teams. Probably his least impressive stint was with the Knicks in 2013-14. He was 34 years old at the time, played 29 games and averaged 4.8 points in 13.4 minutes.
But now that the Knicks are in need of a coach, Artest has some thoughts on just who that coach should be: Ron Artest.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted on Thursday that the official end of the Knicks’ year (New York was well out of consideration to be one of the 22 teams invited to Disney World to finish the coronavirus-interrupted season) means the team will start its coaching search in earnest, with former Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau as the favorite.
But Artest chimed in.
“They should hire me,” Artest, who grew up in Queens and attended St. John’s, tweeted. “I’m from queensbridge projects and I want to see nyc get a ring. First game with a hoodie on the head for all my people.”
Artest Shined as a Laker, Wanted to be a Knick
Artest had his most productive years in Sacramento but cemented his legacy as a defensive stopper and playoff contributor during his four seasons with the Lakers from 2009-13 (he later finished his career in L.A.). He averaged 10.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in the postseason as a Laker and helped the team to the 2010 championship.
The Knicks, though, have always been Artest’s first love and he was bitter with the franchise back in 1999 when it declined to draft him with the No. 15 pick and instead took French center Frederic Weis, ho never played in the NBA and ranks among the worst picks in team history. Artest went to Chicago with the following pick.
Artest talked about playing in New York shortly after he signed with the Knicks: “Obviously I stayed at St. John’s because it’s tough to play in New York. When you win in New York, that’s the hardest thing to do. The easiest thing to do is go somewhere else, maybe get a few extra bucks and it’s OK. The media is tough and I need something that’s tough right now, and I want to win where it’s the hardest to win, and that’s home.”
His stint with the Knicks ended prematurely, though, when the team waived him in the midst of a two-year contract that was expected to pay him about $3.3 million.
Artest has Campaigned for Knicks Coaching Job
Artest has not been shy about campaigning for the Knicks job.
Artest wrote: “If the @nyknicks is available, I definitely want to head coach there. I will absolutely bring that street mentality to the garden. Red brick , hard nose , let’s get it popping. QB (Queensbridge). This would be epic for all people like me. Straight from the jungles to win a title in NYC.”
He also said he’d be upfront with the folks in New York who have been most frustrated with the Knicks’ repeated failures in recent years. The team will be on its 10th coach in the last 19 years when new president Leon Rose picks Fizdale’s successor.
“If I ever got the @nyknicks job , my first message would be direct to fans and media,” Artest wrote. “It wouldn’t be nice.But I’m a straight shooter.Pinpoint straight. I’m not happy how you guys put pressure on every coach and star.Shut up and enjoy the game. Be supportive and let’s win a title.”
While Artest got rid of those tweets, when speaking to Baron Davis at the Business Inside the Game summit in April, Artest reiterated his desire to be the Knicks coach.
“I would take it,” he said. “It’s the only job I want.”