Metta World Peace is known among NBA circles positively for his lockdown defense and negatively for various on-court disputes. While heis legacy has been created through his basketball achievements and the Malice at the Palace and maybe even his draft advice, what will ultimately separate him from others is his work to bring awareness to mental health.
World Peace first brought the topic to light when he won the championship in his first stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. Upon hitting the biggest shot of his career to secure the 16th title in the history of the franchise, he did something nearly unbelievable: thanked his psychologist. Then known by his birth name of Ron Artest, the small forward opened the door to discussion about a topic that was never discussed within the realm of sports, despite its importance.
Artest subsequently auctioned off his championship ring, the only one of his career, to raise money and awareness for mental health. The public admission from MWP opened the door for other basketball players to do the same and to realize that seeking help was not weak or a faux pas. Notably, Lakers center Roy Hibbert has also discussed his work with a sports psychologist.
MWP’s work has not gone unnoticed it seems. May is Mental Health Month, raising awareness of what is an important issue that lacks enough public exposure. As a result of World Peace’s pioneering in the field at least as it relates to sports, the forward was awarded with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano. (h/t Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation.)
World Peace posted a video of the certificate on his Instagram account:
As he so aptly put it, “Metta World getting his philanthropy on.”
Congratulations to Metta!