Metta World Peace shares great story about LeBron James recruiting him

Metta World Peace won an NBA championship with Kobe Bryant in 2010, but he almost had a chance to win one with another all-time great instead.

World Peace, now legally known as Metta Sandiford-Artest, appeared this week on “Club Shay Shay” with Shannon Sharpe. In the episode, he told a great story about how LeBron James tried to recruit him to Cleveland.

“LeBron James hit me up one time when he was with the Cavs,” said World Peace. “I remember I was excited because LeBron hit me up. I’m a big fan. Even though he’s younger, I was a big fan. But before that, I didn’t want to play with Kobe, I didn’t want to play with LeBron., I didn’t want to play with T-Mac [Tracy McGrady]. I wanted to play against these guys.

“So when LeBron hit me up to come play for the team, I was like, ‘Um, I can’t come play,’” he went on. “You know, because many reasons. But I said, ‘I can’t come.’ Then I was trying to go to Detroit or Indiana. That’s where I wanted to go. That’s just in me. But when no teams wanted me, after that, I didn’t call back LeBron. So then the [Los Angeles] Lakers called, I said, ‘I gotta just go because I don’t know if I’m going to get a contract.’ But, it’s not in me to play with anyone.”

World Peace ended up being a major difference-maker for the Lakers as a 3-and-D role player upon signing with them in 2009. His clutch three-pointer late in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics may have directly swung the title that year as well.

Without World Peace, James’ Cavs still ended up winning 61 games that year. But they fell in the second round to the Celtics, as they had to rely on players like Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon to defend the wing instead.

World Peace once poked fun at how little help James had in Cleveland. It turns out that he himself could have helped solve the problem for The King.