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Metta World Peace, a.k.a. The Panda's Friend, ejected from Italian playoff game

Metta World Peace, a.k.a. The Panda's Friend, ejected from Italian playoff game
Published On: Fri, May 29 | Published By: Ball Don't Lie
When last we checked in with Metta World Peace, the Artist Formerly Known as Ron Artest, lacking NBA suitors, had chosen to head overseas to continue his playing career in China under the brand new moniker, "The Panda's Friend." After averaging 19 points, six rebounds and 2.3 steals per game in 15 appearances for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association, Artest/Peace/Friend decided to head to Italy upon the conclusion of the CBA season and sign on with Pallacanestro Cantù of Serie A, promising to make an impact despite all the wear and tear that a 15-year NBA career put on his creaky knees. Well, he certainly made his presence felt when Cantù took on Reyer Venezia Mestre in the fifth game of their quarterfinal playoff series. It probably wasn't quite the impact the team's decision-makers brought him over to make, though. [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] After a late-fourth-quarter foul by a Venezia player on Cantù guard Darius Johnson-Odom, a former Marquette standout and member of the Los Angeles Lakers, a brief scuffle started. The Panda's Friend entered the fray, apparently to defend his teammate, and wound up in the center of some pushing and shoving that resulted in officials sending both teams back to their respective benches while the zebras sorted things out. Somewhat curiously, "sorting things out" in a situation that featured zero punches and nothing more than some strong-arming and jaw-jacking resulted in Ron-Ron getting tossed for the final few minutes of a closeout playoff game — which his team wound up losing, 88-73, ending their season and sending Venezia on to the next round — and a two-game suspension, to be served next season should he return to Serie A. That seems like an awfully stiff punishment for what transpires in this video, to my eyes, especially considering reports that he was assessed five fouls in less than a minute for his role in the incident seem to have been erroneous. Sadly, it seems that no matter how far he travels or how approachably he rebrands himself — he literally has The Panda's Friend on the back of his jersey — Metta can't escape the il will of the zebras. Hat-tip to SLAM's Marcel Mutoni. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL, "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

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