Former NBA champion Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, sat down with EBONY recently to discuss his upcoming Showtime documentary and stressed the importance of having access to affordable mental health care.
“It’s called Quiet Storm. It’s the story about Ron Artest. I changed my name in 2011 and [the documentary] is about my early days in the league,” World Peace said of the Bleacher Report-produced project. “It goes through the evolution of my career starting out and getting drafted and situations that got me suspensions in the NBA.”
Prior to changing his name, World Peace was known as one of the NBA’s most aggressive defenders. His polarizing personality led to him being involved in some of the most infamous on-court altercations in NBA history.
In 2004, World Peace, then a star on the Indiana Pacers, was involved with what the New York Times referred to as the “one of the worst” brawls in sports history when his team played against the Detroit Pistons.
World Peace’s former teammates Kobe Bryant and Jermaine O’Neal were among the participants in the documentary.
Despite having access to the soon-to-be released project, World Peace revealed that he has not seen it yet. “I didn’t want to see the doc until it comes out. I did see the trailer and I did hear some things that Kobe said. I don’t know everybody that’s in it because I kind of want it to be a surprise to me,” he said.
He unknowingly became a mental health advocate when he thanked his psychiatrist during a post-game speech after winning the 2010 NBA finals as part of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Back in 2010, when people weren’t really talking about those issues because the media back then was more critical of a celerity or athlete to come out and say ‘Hey, I need help,'” World Peace said.
The former star, who left the league in 2017, shared his thoughts on the current state of the mental health community. “It’s a whole new movement now. Everybody’s more understanding of someone and more willing to help someone that’s in need from everything that’s involving mental health,” he wrote.
While there have been many strides made toward raising awareness, the Queens native said, “We actually need more social workers and more funding for therapists, more funding for people that can’t afford those sessions because they are superexpensive.”
Highlighting one particular program that offers cost effective assistance, he said, “There’s this school called the Chicago School of Psychology and they provide sessions for $15 an hour. They take the students that they’re teaching and after they go through that course, those students provide counseling sessions, which I think is very cool.”
Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story airs Friday, May 31 at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Check out the trailer below.