Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, explained that he almost walked away from the game much earlier than anyone ever realized.
During the 2007 season, he reportedly told multiple teammates he wanted to retire at the end of the year before eventually deciding to return the next year. He also said he was going to leave basketball in 2013 but played three more seasons.
On a recent episode of his podcast, however, World Peace explained that he actually nearly retired before the Malice in the Palace even happened in 2004 (via Moments with Metta):
“I was actually trying to retire that season … before the brawl. Because my grandma passed away and a lot of other things was going on in my life. So I said I wanted to take a break from basketball. I actually called the NBA.”
If he were not on the court, this would have completely changed the course of basketball history considering the wild incident in Detroit was one of the most pivotal moments of the decade.
Of course, he didn’t follow through with that decision and played until 2017. While some people told him he was going to lose a lot of money if he did, World Peace said he wasn’t focusing on that. Instead, he explained, he was thinking about his “mental state” and where he was at that time in his life.
Even though he ended up playing 17 seasons in the league, he said in the podcast that he “kind of” wishes he would have followed through with his decision. World Peace believes if he had done this, he would have come back to the game stable and energized.