Metta World Peace admits working at Circuit City, laments Pacers tenure
Metta World Peace never stops being interesting, and this week he reflected on a few legends from his past. One of those pieces of folklore - that he applied for a job at electronics chain store Circuit City as a rookie with the Chicago Bulls - was expanded upon.
"I was bored, I was partying a little bit too much," World Peace, then known as Ron Artest, told ESPN's Highly Questionable on Tuesday. "I was trying to find ways to stay grounded ... so one of the things I did was apply for a job at Circuit City."
According to longtime urban legend, Artest, with a salary of more than $1 million in 1999-2000, applied for the job citing "NBA player" as his prior occupation, and using then-Bulls general manager Jerry Krause's name as a reference. On Tuesday, he confirmed that, telling ESPN he got the job and worked one shift.
"I got the job, 50 percent discounts and things," World Peace said. "I showed up one day. I worked, I helped out some customers."
Not all has been quite so comical for the forward in his life or career. The 36-year-old, who came out of a one-year retirement to play 35 games for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, also talked about his battle with mental illness, drinking alcohol during games, and his turbulent adolescence in the New York City neighborhood of Queensbridge - home to the largest public housing project in North America.
"I learned how to cook crack at the age of 13," World Peace said. "That was something I'm not proud of, but it was something that was introduced to me at an early age."
He added those struggles led into his problems as a pro basketball player, and said he specifically regretted his actions as a member of the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls traded him to Indy in 2002, and despite winning a NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, his Pacers career effectively ended the night of the "Malice at the Palace" on Nov. 19, 2004.
"Jermaine O'Neal always reached out (to me)," World Peace said. "Great teammate, great leader, and I never reached back out. Jermaine, Al Harrington, these guys would go out and get lunch, but I would stay in my room. I wasn't social.
"I was jealous of Jermaine O'Neal's contract. I felt like I was a top-tier player, but I felt like the Pacers didn't treat me like that. It was all about me. It was too much ego. Everything was about me. When I don't get what I want, I felt like I was entitled and I lashed out."