Metta World Peace Elbowing James Harden Is Just Like That Time I Got Punched by a 13-Year-Old Girl

You may have noticed one of my favorite things to do on xoJane is take a sports headline and write some vaguely-related story about my life as a way of attempting to get you (okay fine: also me) interested in it.
Publish date:
April 25, 2012
It Happened To Me, moms, fights, 8th grade, lakers, metta world peace, ron artest, M

You may have noticed one of my favorite things to do on xoJane is take a sports headline and write some vaguely-related story about my life as a way of attempting to get you (okay fine: also me) interested in it. I guess I just feel like if you wanted to read straight sports, you’d head over to, but that by clicking on a story on xoJane with my name next to it, at least a tiny part of you wants to hear just one more story about my privileged and depraved life.

And if that’s the case, then YOU ARE IN LUCK.

What? That's just a love jab! World PEACE, bitches!

On Sunday, Lakers forward Ron Artest -- sorry: Metta World Peace -- dunked on a fast break and was headed back upcourt when he ran into Thunder guard James Harden and threw an elbow that was so violent, it knocked Harden onto the court for several minutes before he left the game due to a concussion.

People debated whether or not the elbow was intentional, though to me it seems quite clear that World Peace (oh, the irony) drew his arm back and then released it with full force. However, World Peace called it “unfortunate” and “unintentional” and ultimately, we’ll never know. What we do know is that after his elbow made intense contact with Harden’s head, World Peace didn’t even bother to look around and see if Harden was okay. Personally, when I “accidentally” assault people, I at least turn around and help them off of the ground.

At this point, it doesn’t matter if the elbow was intentional (it was); Metta World Peace was suspended yesterday for seven games, a punishment that’s pretty severe by NBA standards and means that World Peace will miss the Lakers’ regular-season finale on Thursday as well as the Lakers’ first six games of the playoffs. (Oh, and $348,000 in salary. Zzzzzzzzzz.)

It was a violent hit that not only hurt Harden, who is still not cleared to play, but to World Peace’s team, who could be short-handed at small forward because Matt Barnes sustained a sprained ankle on Sunday. Personally, I don’t want to see the Lakers do well in the playoffs because, ugh, I hate the Lakers, but I also don’t want to see them lose because someone was a violent a-hole.

Regardless, I think the punishment is fair. A blow to the head is no joke. I would know. Which leads me to, the worst transition of all time:

The Only Time I’ve Ever Been in a Fight (with someone unrelated to me)

I’ve mentioned before that I was a bit of an ugly duckling in sixth and seventh grades. While all of my friends were shoving their tongues in the mouths of mostly pre-pubescent boys, I was shoving my tongue against the spikes on the back of my full mouth of braces. (Something about “tongue thrust.” And a mother who didn’t love me.)

However, during the summer of seventh grade, something happened. And when I returned to school in 8th grade, I was no longer a complete and total dork. At least on the outside.

Which means that boys started paying attention to me. (Well, not at school because I went to all-girls school, but in other places where one meet boys. Like MidWeeklies. Otherwise known as “Dancing School,” but best explained as invitation-only ballroom dance classes.)

Besides MidWeeklies, there were also school dances on occasion. Because so many of the schools were single sex, one school would host the dance each year and invite several schools. For one of these dances, a boy, we’ll call him O., asked me to be his date. I said yes.

Unfortunately, another girl in my class, we’ll call her Lena because why on earth would I protect her identity after what she did to me, had a crush on O. and wanted him to ask her to the dance.

And this is where things went from upper crust to uppercut in a matter of days.

Lena was a little different from most of my friends. She had more freedom than anyone else I knew and therefore, very different friends than anyone else I knew. Where as my afternoons were spent jam-packed full of piano lessons, basketball practice, and more therapy than any 13-year-old knows what to do with, Lena was hanging out at a local donut shop and meeting people who were in to things like selling drugs and stealing cars. Like most of us at that age, Lena was trying to figure out who she was and her trip to self-discovery took a detour into a cliché version of a hoodlum.

Which is why when she found out that I’d told O. I’d go to the dance with him, she did the only thing that made sense:

She told everyone she was going to kick my ass.

The next weekend, a group of us were hanging out a friend’s house when someone told me that Lena was coming over. Specifically to beat me up. I don’t know why I didn’t leave, but at the time, it just seemed ridiculous. Lena and I were friends. (There were 30 people in my class, so everyone was friends, but Lena and I were in the same “clique” and went over to each other's houses on a somewhat regular basis.)

Plus, people just didn’t beat people up in my world. I didn’t know a single girl who’d ever been in a fist fight. That just wasn’t a real thing that actually happened.

So I was completely caught off guard when Lena came into my friend’s house, walked right up to me where I was standing talking to someone else, and punched me as hard as she could in the head.

Unfortunately for Lena, I grew up with two older brothers. And so while fighting with girls was not something I was accustomed to, fighting BACK was something I did on instinct.

Within seconds, Lena was down on the ground and I was on top of her. I didn’t throw punches because that wasn’t ever something I did with my brother (I really only fought with the one who was barely older than I), probably because punches would have left marks we wouldn't have been able to hide from my mom, but I did (accidentally, I swear) slam Lena’s head into a marble table when I took her down. There was a bit of wrestling, a bit of yelling and then, fairly quickly, the whole thing was over.

I got off of Lena, walked into a different room, sat on the couch, and watched the television. My adrenaline was racing in a way I'd never experienced and all I wanted to do was just calm down and have this entire situation end. Which is when Lena walked up to me, every finger on her hand intentionally loaded with rings, and punched me in the head. Again.

This time I just sat there. “I’m not going to fight you.”

She punched me on the head again and I didn't flinch. “Seriously. It’s not going to happen.”

Eventually, Lena and the donut shop friend she’d brought with her left to go buy candy at the store.

“You’d better be here when I get back,” she threatened before she left.

Needless to say: I was not.

Within minutes of her departure, I grabbed my stuff and booked it to the bus stop. Fifteen minutes later, I was running up the street to my house, blood on my fingers from where my head was bleeding, unable to process what had just happened.

Which is when I realized I’d forgotten my keys.

I didn’t panic because there were multiple ways to get into my house when the gate was locked. I’d never ever come home and not had one of them work.

First, I maneuvered my hand through the gate to turn the knob, something only a child could do. But when I got up the stairs to the front door, it was locked.

Then I walked around the corner to the public library and climbed over the fence, through my neighbor’s yard, over another fence, and finally into my own back yard. From there, I checked every door off of the first floor deck. All locked.

I then climbed the lattice up to the second floor deck and tried the door off of my brother’s bedroom. Locked. As was my last hope: the tiny window into the bathroom shower that I could just manage to squeeze through.

I was officially locked out. And even worse: While I was fine climbing UP the lattice to the second floor deck, I was way too terrified to climb down.

I was stuck.

And someone was ringing the doorbell.

“Let us in, chicken shit!” I heard Lena’s voice yell from the front of the house. There were other people with her. She’d brought friends. Boys. They all yelled. “Come out and fight!”

"You're ugly!"

"You're mom's a whore!"

"If you don't let me kick your ass now, I'll just find you later and it'll be even worse!"

I curled up in the corner of the tiny deck, my knees pulled against my chest. Lena had been over to my house enough times that she knew every trick of how to get inside. I just prayed she wouldn’t have the guts to use any of them.

Lena and her posse stood outside of my house for over a half an hour yelling at me, taunting me, calling me names, begging me to come out and fight. But eventually, they grew tired and left.

An hour or so after that, my mother came home.


When she unlocked the door and let me inside, I cried for the first time that day. I wasn’t close to my mom at this point in my life. I normally wouldn’t have told her what had happened to me. But being attacked by my friend, and then hunted down for more, it was all too much. I was 13 years old. I was scared. And for the first time in a long time, the only person who could help me was my mother.

Which she did.

By calling Lena’s mom and yelling at her about everything that happened.

Bless her heart, my mother was truly doing what she thought was best, but after that phone call, it would have been less painful if I’d just let Lena kick the shit out of me.

The rest of the story is too ridiculous to even go into; let’s just say it involves rehersals of our 8th grade performance of “West Side Story,” Lena being a Shark, my being a Jet, and physical threats whispered in my ear on the stage during our choreographed dance-offs. Seriously people: that's how it went down.

Of course, at the end of the rumble, maybe a call to her mommy was all it did take. Because she never laid a hand on me again. And guess who went to the dance with O.?

Oh, right: Neither of us.

Whatever. There’s so much more make out potential if you just go stag.

Sitting on top of the Baby Grand before the MidWeeklies Dance. Seriously.