Metta Sandiford-Artest Explains the Surprising Factor That Drew Him to Idolizing Michael Jordan

Published 08/14/2021, 9:39 AM EDT
Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)


Former Lakers star Metta Sandiford-Artest was one of the best defenders of his time. Chicago drafted him in 1999, the same year when Michael Jordan retired for a second time. But it was at the Lakers, where Metta rose to prominence. He is a one-time NBA champion, and that happened when he used to ply his trade with the Lakers.

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Metta Sandiford-Artest, who changed his name to Metta World Peace back in 2011, never got to play with Michael Jordan. But Metta has revealed that Jordan’s defending motivated him and that made him ‘want to be like Jordan’.

The Lakers’ Elden Campbell shoots over the reach of the Bulls’ Michael Jordan, as his teammates Scotty Pippin(left) and Luc Longley look on. Campbell had a career high 34 points. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Metta Sandiford-Artest loved Michael Jordan for his defense and not offense

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Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan is sixth on the NBA all-time scoring list with 32,292 points. But apart from scoring, Jordan was also very proactive on defense. In fact, he was the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and has nine All-NBA Defensive Team honors. In the 31st episode of Club Shay Shay Shay Season 2, Metta Sandiford-Artest revealed that ‘Michael Jordan is one of the best defenders ever’.

“I would watch his defense when I was a kid,” Metta said.

“His offense was great, but his defense was incredible. He’s one of the best defenders ever right on a wing, and that made me want to be like MJ on defense,” he added.

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Chicago drafted Metta Sandiford-Artest during their transition period. However, the Bulls failed to reach the playoffs and finished 15th during Metta’s three-season stint in the ‘windy city’. Metta then spent four seasons at Indiana Pacers and helped them reach playoffs in all four seasons.

Lakers forward Metta World Peace warms up before a game against the Gokden State Warriors on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

After spending two seasons at Sacramento Kings and one season at Houston Rockets, Metta signed a five-year deal with the Lakers. It was here when he was at the peak of his career. Metta won the only NBA title of his career in 2010 with the Lakers. He re-joined the Lakers in 2015 and spent two seasons in LA before ending his professional playing career.

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Abhishek Singh

98 articles

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