AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“Please don’t listen to them,” World Peace, said laughing.Before the Lakers embraced World Peace, though, there was plenty of skepticism about signing him after negotiations broke down with free agent Trevor Ariza in the summer of 2009. While the Lakers had just won the 2009 NBA title, the former Artest had not fully rehabbed his public image after his role in the Malice at the Palace brawl five years earlier. Meanwhile, World Peace contends he had originally hoped to play in Greece after helping the Houston Rockets push the Lakers to seven games in the 2009 Western Conference semifinals.“I don’t really care what people think about me,” World Peace said. “I honestly don’t. It was cool to see your stories and how it changed. I appreciated it.”It did not take long for World Peace to change his reputation around his teammates.“I was a little intrigued how he was going to be,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton, who played with World Peace from 2009-12. “He was awesome from Day One. He never came in and tried to cause problems. It was always about the team. It was always about what Coach needs me to do.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error World Peace downplayed the initial adjustments he faced fitting into Phil Jackson’s triangle offense and meshing with a star-studded roster that included Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Andrew Bynum.“I love the press and I love the pressure,” said World Peace, who grew up in New York, played collegiately at St. John’s and signed with the New York Knicks for the 2013-14 season to play in his hometown. “When the fans were booing me and I was open … I love that … I used it as extra motivation.”After he missed an ill-advised 3-point attempt late in Game 5 of the 2010 Western Conference semifinals against Phoenix, World Peace compensated with a game-winning layup.“In life, you have to keep going,” World Peace said. “The moment you give up, it’s over. The moment you crush yourself, bye it’s over.”He also made a key 3-pointer in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against Boston. Yet, World Peace came close toward crumbling in that career-defining game. He revealed that he consulted his psychologist out of fear he would get ejected as a response to former Celtics forward Paul Pierce talking trash.“I’m happy, grateful and had a chance to win,” World Peace said. “It’s something I always wanted. I didn’t care about the ring as much. I just wanted the title. I didn’t want to finish my career without a titleWHAT’S IN A NAME?Though the former Artest legally changed his name to World Peace during the 2011 lockout to promote a positive message, the genesis traced somewhere else.“I was copying off of [Chad] Ochocinco,” said World Peace, referring to the former NFL wide receiver. “I really was amused by what he did. I was like, ‘Wow I want to do that.’ Copycat 100 percent. Do something positive and a little different.”That even took World Peace some time to adapt to the name change. After serving as a bench role in the 2011-12 season under former Lakers coach Mike Brown, World Peace initially cringed in the Lakers’ preseason opener against the Clippers on Dec. 19, 2011.“I remember not wanting to go to the scorers’ table and check in,” World Peace said. “I was so embarrassed.”Meanwhile, World Peace’s teammates struggled saying his name with a straight face.“It took a while,” Walton said. “We naturally called him Ron when he first got here. Now just like anything else, it’s a habit. It’s Metta, Metta, Metta. Unless someone brings up Ron’s name, I don’t think of it much anymore.” LOS ANGELES >> The mere mention of Metta World Peace’s name prompted a standing ovation.The fans embraced World Peace as the Lakers forward was introduced as a starter before Tuesday’s game against New Orleans at Staples Center for a simple reason. In what might be his final game at Staples Center wearing a Lakers uniform, many wanted to say thanks to the former Ron Artest for playing a pivotal role in securing Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.“It’s been great. I just want to win and have a good time,” World Peace said. “That’s it. Who knows what will happen after this.”While Nick Young implored him to score 62 points, Jordan Clarkson told World Peace to take 50 shots. After all, Kobe Bryant scored 60 points on 50 field-goal attempts in the final game of his 20th NBA season last year.