Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA on Tuesday for elbowing James Harden, meaning he could miss at least six playoff games.
World Peace was ejected from Sunday’s game againstOklahoma Cityfor throwing an elbow that struck Harden in the back of the head, giving him a concussion.
World Peace will miss the season finale on Thursday atSacramento, then the next six games for which he is eligible. The playoffs open Saturday.
Commissioner David Stern alluded to the former Ron Artest’s history of on-court altercations in announcing the penalty in a statement.
Artest got an 86-game ban in 2004 for jumping into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills, outsideDetroit, to fight fans.
“The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” Stern said in a statement. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
The Los Angeles Lakers have issued the following statement from General Manager Mitch Kupchak following the NBA’s announcement of the suspension: “Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers. Still, his most recent lapse in judgement is not to be condoned or accepted. His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”