Former NBA All-Star Metta Sandiford-Artest recently offered some insight into some of his free-agency decisions during his playing days.
Sandiford-Artest — who went by Metta World Peace during part of his playing career — explained that he turned down LeBron James’ offer to play with him on the Cleveland Cavaliers at one point.
“LeBron James hit me up one time when he was with the Cavs,” he said. “And I remember I was excited, because LeBron hit me up. I’m a big fan, even though younger, I was a big fan. But before that, I didn’t want to play with Kobe [Bryant] — R.I.P. 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. You know, because many reasons, I can’t come.’ … But when no teams wanted me, after that, I didn’t call back LeBron. So then the [Los Angeles] Lakers call, 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.”
Sandiford-Artest ultimately spent most of his waning NBA years with the Lakers, winning an NBA title with the team during the 2009-10 season.
During his prime, Sandiford-Artest was a borderline star. He had some great seasons, and he finished his career with averages of 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He made 41.4 percent of his shots from the field and 33.9 percent of his shots from deep.
The small forward’s final season in the NBA came in the 2016-17 campaign. He spent almost two full decades in the league.