When it comes to some of the best perimeter defenders in NBA history, Metta World Peace — formerly Ron Artest — has to be up there with the best.
World Peace has four All-Defensive nods under his belt, as well as the 2003-04 Defensive Player of the Year award, 1 All-Star appearance and a championship with the Lakers in 2010.
His 2003-04 season with the Indiana Pacers was easily the best season of his career, posting averages 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Artest won Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts on the defensive end.
MWP joined the Out Of Bounds podcast with Gilbert Arenas to share some stories from his playing days, and the topic of playing against a rookie LeBron James came up. This is what he had to say:
“I played against him and he had 25, I didn’t expect this as I was the best defensive player in the league. This was not supposed to happen, I was furious. He then pointed towards the Indiana fans and told them, this is your defensive player of the year.”
World Peace is talking about the first time he ever faced LeBron, but to his credit, MWP actually misremembered how many points James dropped on him. LBJ scored 23 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists that game, but actually lost the game 91-90, which makes you wonder why a rookie LeBron in his fifth-ever game would go talking trash to the Indiana home crowd after a loss?
Whatever the case, this story (if true) just goes to show how confident and talented LeBron was as soon as he stepped foot in the NBA.