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...