Friday, December 16, 2011

Prospects for World Peace

The recent decision by the Lakers player formerly known as Ron Artest to change his legal name to Metta World Peace opens up immense possibilities for sportswriters and commentators to add layers of irony and nuance to their coverage. I'm not sure the sports community is ready to rise to the challenge. For example, although today's LA Times story, about Coach Mike Brown's decision to shift World Peace from the starting lineup to the second string, did lead off by saying that the coach is "giving World Peace a chance . . . to come off the bench," the article otherwise left these possibilities largely unexplored. Never fear. I am fully prepared to leap into the breach.

What kind of message does it send to bench World Peace? We have reason to be disappointed in such a conventional-seeming strategy of turning to World Peace only after exhausting the aggressive efforts of the Lakers' starters. Think about how much excitement the team could create if they instead activated World Peace at the beginning of the game.

Wouldn't we prefer to see the Lakers fully embrace World Peace by placing World Peace at the forefront of their strategy this season, instead of holding World Peace in abeyance? Wouldn't we rather hear the announcer herald the arrival of World Peace at the outset of every game, rather than bringing World Peace in as an afterthought? Don't we want to encourage fans to think of World Peace first, rather than calling for World Peace only after other resources are tired?

We all want World Peace to succeed. Fans should be urging the Lakers to exploit the full potential of World Peace. Of course we understand that the Lakers have to consider what World Peace can do to help the team, but they should also be thinking of what the team can do for World Peace. We have reason to worry now, at the start of this new season, whether the team will truly stand up for World Peace, or whether it will only turn to World Peace on rare occasions.


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