Metta World Peace defends his play

Updated: March 3, 2013, 1:02 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Metta World Peace is not upset with the NBA for retroactively upgrading a hit he had on the Denver Nuggets' Kenneth Faried to a flagrant-2 foul. But he is skeptical of Denver coach George Karl for mistaking his aggressive play as being dirty.

"George Karl knows, come on," World Peace said after the Los Angeles Lakers' practice Saturday. "He's been in this NBA longer than me. Come on, he knows the era of basketball."

World Peace It's not like I brought this aggression to the league. I didn't invent this. This is what we watched, this is what we saw. The Bill Laimbeers and the (Dennis) Rodmans, they play hard and they wasn't trying to hurt anybody. They played hard. They played with passion. We grew up wanting to play with passion. So, when the guys say we're dirty, we're just playing hard.

-- Metta World Peace

By "era of basketball," World Peace was referring to the NBA he grew up watching from the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" to the Miami Heat and New York Knicks playoff series in the '90s that resembled wrestling matches.

"As I get older, I'm learning how to just play hard," World Peace said. "It's not like I brought this aggression to the league. I didn't invent this. This is what we watched, this is what we saw. The Bill Laimbeers and the [Dennis] Rodmans, they play hard and they wasn't trying to hurt anybody. They played hard. They played with passion. We grew up wanting to play with passion. So, when the guys say we're dirty, we're just playing hard. We're not playing dirty. We're just playing. We're reacting. We're going hard. We want to win."

Karl told reporters on Friday that the league's ruling after World Peace connected his left elbow with Faried's face as the third quarter expired in the Nuggets' 119-108 win over the Lakers on Monday was warranted.

"I saw it on film and I thought it was -- whatever the word is -- premeditated," Karl said.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni disagreed.

"I don't think anything is premeditated," D'Antoni said. "I think sometimes, obviously, we deserve the flagrant fouls. We got to watch that. We don't need to do that. And [we should] be careful about that especially now that it leads to suspensions. We're in a hole and we can't afford it."

World Peace, now tied for the league lead of five flagrant foul points with teammate Dwight Howard (putting both of them one point away from an automatic one-game suspension), tried to turn the tables on any dirty reputation he and Howard may have.

"Dwight gets fouled a lot intentionally," World Peace said. "Dwight goes up, they push him in the back."

The Lakers forward went so far as to say that Howard's back injury last season that caused him to miss 12 games and undergo offseason surgery was a result of intentional fouls against the All-Star center.

"Dwight's big," World Peace said. "He gets the ball under the basket. If you try to block it, most likely he's going to get an and-1. He's that strong. So, you have to push him. You have to push him. With that being said, sometimes he gets hurt. So, those are intentional fouls. Those are intentional when he's getting hurt. He got hurt when he got pushed in Orlando and that's why he had the back surgery. These guys are coming down on his back and he had to get surgery as a result of that."

World Peace said the only reason his hit against Faried was punished retroactively while the contact Howard takes is accepted is because the Nuggets chose to report the action to the league. The Lakers did ask the league to monitor how teams were guarding Howard earlier in the season, however, believing that Howard's injured right shoulder had become a target for opposing defenses when they fouled.

"You could take every little action out there and complain about it if you want," said World Peace, who added that Nuggets center JaVale McGee struck him with a flailed arm in the same game that he hit Faried and no action was levied. "The guys can take every little clip and, 'This is a dirty box out, this is a dirty box out.' The game is aggressive. It's a fast-paced game and we don't want to complain, and Dwight's not complaining."

The 14-year veteran said teams could end up imploring the league to review game tapes in the playoffs to try to sway a series with a player suspension.

"That's a good weapon to have," World Peace said. "That's a good arsenal to have."

World Peace said he thought his recent punishment had more to do with the Nuggets' objection being out in the public than the league taking into account his history of infractions, which included being suspended one game for a hit on Detroit's Brandon Knight this season.

"It gets publicized," World Peace said. "This media era is amazing. Twitter, Facebook, ESPN, news outlets everywhere. Then [the NBA has] got to do something because public perception is everything. It's everything. So they got to do something. They just can't let it act like they're not paying attention to it, especially when it's my reputation.

"I'm happy I didn't get suspended, I'll tell you that. With my reputation, they could have easily been like, 'Hey, two games.' "

World Peace said he is not going to appeal the league's decision.

"I'd rather just go out there and play basketball," World Peace said.

Playing basketball aggressively -- that's the only way he knows how.

"Growing up as a kid, I remember playing in Far Rockaway [N.Y.]," World Peace said. "There's only one way in, one way out.

"Far Rockaway is like the New Orleans of New York. It's like hardcore, right? If you go into their hood and you play ball and you play hard [there are repercussions]. I never back down so I play hard. My man got hit over the head with a bottle -- boom -- at the free-throw line while he's shooting free throws. Bats and guns come out. We got to get out.

"The next day we go to another hood to play ball."

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