- Last Updated: 3:16 PM, June 27, 2012
- Posted: 2:41 AM, June 27, 2012
Metta World Peace played so well Tuesday night at Nike Pro City, his Queensbridge teammates joked afterward it felt like Kobe Bryant was out there with them.
World Peace, still known locally as Ron Artest despite his infamous name change, stopped them like only he can.
“If Kobe was there, I would’ve had like 10,” the Los Angeles Lakers forward said, cracking a smile. “I would’ve given him the ball to him. I would’ve gotten a lot of assists.”
Kobe wasn’t at Baruch College Tuesday night – World Peace was, making his summer debut less than a day after arriving in New York City from Los Angeles. Despite feeling sluggish and tired from the cross-country flight, he still poured in 51 points, the first time he could ever recall topping the 50-point marker, to lift Queensbridge to a thrilling 137-133, double-overtime victory over Primetime.
“Better late than never,” he said of his offensive explosion. If he wasn’t so tired, he said, “I would’ve done even more work.”
World Peace made 14-of-38 shots overall, sank five 3-pointers, grabbed 11 rebounds and hit 16-of-17 free throw attempts. Alexus Foyle had 22 points and former Seton Hall star Jeremy (The Cab Driver) Hazell added 17 points. Kiwon Smith scored 29 points for Primetime and (Super) Dave Segers had 28.
Primetime nearly pulled the upset, rallying from a six-point deficit in the final minute of regulation and had possession in the final seconds of overtime. But Kojo Mensah missed a jumpshot at the buzzer and in the second extra session, World Peace took over, scoring seven points.
World Peace, the former St. John's star and LaSalle standout, has made a habit of coming back home every summer to play in the city’s many different leagues. Feeling healthier than he has in many years, he said he plans to be extra busy over the next few months. Nike Pro City was just his first stop.
“New York City is so competitive,” he said. “You saw tonight. Some guys gave me problems. There’s great competition. Every time, every year. You know guys will come out and play hard.”