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From bad actor to role model. Metta's exit leaves Lakers fans with goosebumps

From bad actor to role model. Metta's exit leaves Lakers fans with goosebumps

He joined the Lakers in the summer of 2009 as a troublemaker, a pariah, a plague.

Ron Artest was signed, Trevor Ariza walked, and an NBA championship locker room was suddenly in peril.

“What are they thinking? What are they doing?” I wrote in this newspaper. “They send the kid packing for an aging nut whose greatest hits have occurred on the head of fans.”

Eight years later, a lot more has changed than just the name.

On Tuesday night at Staples Center, Metta World Peace played probably his last home game as a Laker, and the roar was eternal.

He leaves here not as a bad actor, but as a role model. He didn’t infect the Lakers’ locker room, he enriched it. The...