Thursday November 6th, 2014

Metta World Peace, the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest, decided to play professionally in China in order to improve his individual skills, he said on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday morning.

Peace, 34, joined the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association this year for his first season in China after 15 years in the NBA.

According to Peace, in his last few years in the league, his focus had moved away from his individual abilities.

Metta World Peace will be wearing shoes with a detachable panda head

"I always wanted to play in China. Because...the last six years or last five years...I sacrificed my individual skills in order to be on the team. So I wanted to get my individual game back a little bit," Peace said. "So, I decided [to come to China] to get the rhythm back."

"Second, I always wanted to play in China but I didn't want to play when I was 40 because I won't have a lot of skills at that time probably. So I came in my prime so I can try to come back to the NBA like next year."

Peace was amnestied by the Knicks last year after appearing in 22 games during the 2013-2014 season. His play was limited by a left knee injury stemming from the lateral meniscus tear his suffered during the previous season, his last with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He said he had received offers to play in the NBA this season, but that some had questioned his fitness. He also said he been in discussions to return to an NBA team in time for the postseason this year.

Peace averaged 13.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 924 career games in the NBA.

Metta World Peace reportedly changing name to Panda Friend

During his years in the NBA, he spent time with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.

In two games with the Blue Whales, Peace has averaged 21.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game.

 
- Christopher Woody

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