What's Buzzing:

Ball Don't Lie

Metta World Peace elbows James Harden in the head (VIDEO)

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

Over the past few years, Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) has partially rehabilitated his reputation with various charitable endeavors, winning the 2011 NBA Citizenship Award, and generally seeming like a less volatile presence both on the court and in his life. In most cases, he seems far different from the man who helped set off the "Malice in the Palace" brawl in Detroit eight years ago.

During Sunday afternoon's Lakers home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, we saw a side of MWP that we haven't encountered in quite some time. With the Lakers down three points in the final minutes of the first half, World Peace executed a really quite excellent Euro step and left-handed dunk in transition. In his excitement, he began celebrating on his way back up the court and bumped into OKC guard (and likely Sixth Man of the Year) James Harden. As Harden moved past him, World Peace elbowed him hard in the side of the head. Harden went to the ground immediately, and Metta was immediately and rightfully ejected from the game.

The entire incident happened very quickly, so much so that it's hard to know exactly what World Peace intended to do. What's apparent is that he felt Harden and responded by swinging an elbow. However, MWP also didn't look over his shoulder to see who it was and seemed to throw his elbow as an impulse rather than with the intention to hit a player in the head. It was reckless and absolutely worthy of the ejection and suspension to come, but the exact intent of the action might be impossible to determine.

Harden was taken to the Thunder locker room immediately, underwent the NBA-mandated concussion tests, and failed to return to the game. It's not yet known if he has an injury that will keep him out of several games, but his absence would be a major blow to the Thunder's championship aspirations. Averaging 16.9 points on just over 10 field-goal attempts per game, Harden has been one of the most effective backcourt scorers in the league this season.

[ Also: James Harden's eclectic style a good fit for Oklahoma City Thunder ]

On the other side, World Peace is sure to be suspended for several games, with the exact duration possibly tied to whether or not Harden sustained a serious injury. You can be sure, though, that the NBA will look at this incident based on the reputation of Ron Artest, not that of the more caring and sensitive Metta World Peace. After all the work he put in to improve himself, it's a shame that things turned in so short a period of time.

(Original video via EOB)

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
College hoops transfers who will be missed by their teams next season
Roundtable: Which players will live up to their NFL draft hype — and which won't?
Which 10 non-goalie players have disappointed the most in 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

View Comments (9895)
  • Thompson's 41 points, 11 3s save Golden State's season

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 38 seconds ago
  • Gonzalez stumbles again as Nationals lose to Cardinals 9-4

    Gonzalez stumbles again as Nationals lose to Cardinals 9-4

    Coming off a miserable start, Gio Gonzalez struck out the first three batters he faced. After that, however, it was another struggle for the Nationals left-hander. Gonzalez didn't make it out of the fifth inning, and Washington wasted three home … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Pulisic gets 1st goal as US tops Bolivia 4-0 in Copa tuneup

    Pulisic gets 1st goal as US tops Bolivia 4-0 in Copa tuneup

    Six weeks after becoming the youngest foreigner to score in the Bundesliga, 17-year-old Christian Pulisic became the youngest American in the modern era to get a goal for the national team. Pulisic capped the match by scoring in his third national … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • Drogba scores in stoppage time, Impact beat Galaxy 3-2

    Drogba scores in stoppage time, Impact beat Galaxy 3-2

    Didier Drogba scored on a free kick in stoppage time to give the Montreal Impact a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night. In the dying seconds of stoppage time, Drogba scored from 30 yards out. ''I just wanted to hit the … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • NBA play-offs semifinal result

    May 29 (Infostrada Sports) - Result from the NBA Play-offs Semifinal match between Oklahoma City and Golden State on Saturday (home team in CAPS) 1 2 3 4 T OKLAHOMA CITY 23 30 30 18 101 Golden State 20 28 27 33 108 (The best-of-seven series is level … More »

    Reuters - 14 minutes ago