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OKLAHOMA CITY — Knicks forward Metta World Peace believes Marcus Smart can learn from the fallout that will come after Smart shoved a fan during Oklahoma State’s game at Texas Tech Saturday.
If anyone would know, it’s the player formerly known as Ron Artest.
In 2004, Artest infamously ran into the stands and attacked a Detroit Pistons fan who he thought threw a beer on him. Artest was suspended for 73 regular-season games and the playoffs before being traded the next season.
Late in Saturday night’s game at Lubbock, Texas, Smart confronted Jeff Orr after the Texas Tech super fan appeared to say something to the All-American guard. Smart shoved him with two hands, and teammates quickly pulled Smart away as he pointed back in Orr’s direction. Smart was issued a technical foul and did not play the final seconds of the game.
No decision on a punishment for Smart has been made by the Big 12 or Oklahoma State.
Texas Tech is still investigating, trying to speak with people who were in the area around Smart and Orr when the altercation occurred.
“We are conducting a very thorough investigation, trying to collect everything we can,” Texas Tech spokesman Blayne Beal said Sunday. “We are in conversations with Mr. Orr.”
There are no fan-behavior guidelines printed on Texas Tech basketball tickets, Beal said, but the school follows the Big 12’s sportsmanship policy. Before each game the public address announcer reads a few sentences about sportsmanship that includes that inappropriate fan behavior will not be tolerated.
“It’s read literally at every game,” Beal said.
Section 12.2.1 is titled Institutional Responsibility: “The Big 12 member institutions have the responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure that all university employees, students, and others in attendance at athletics events conduct themselves in a dignified manner and exhibit respect and courtesy towards game officials, other institutions and their employees, students (including student-athletes) and fans.”
World Peace said Smart — who is projected to be a high NBA draft pick — might benefit from learning how to deal with obnoxious fans at age 19, before he becomes a pro and millions of dollars are on the line.
“Just in general, I heard the kid is pretty good and a potential pro,” World Peace said. “So those types of challenges on the court when you’re playing and fans are rooting against you — that was a great lesson learned, so that hopefully when he does become a pro, he’ll be able to kind of withstand the fans that are rooting against him on the road.”
World Peace also said Smart needs to learn to control his energy.
“I think that emotion and that fire could be directed towards winning on the court instead of directed other ways,” he said.
World Peace said given the chance, he would advise Smart to be aware of the big picture when making decisions.
“At 19 years old, when I came out of St. John’s, I was fresh out the ‘hood. I was fresh out of Queensbridge,” he said. “So my mentality was still struggle, defensive and things like that. I wasn’t really conscious. I’m 34 years old now. So he’s a young kid. I wish I would have listened when I was a kid to my elders or people who had my best interests at heart, and then I wish I would have been more conscious at that age also. Those are two things that, if you were to reach out to a kid like Marcus — a talented kid, future leader in the community — you would tell him those things.”
World Peace said more guidelines should be in place for college fans because college players don’t get paid. He said fans should have more leeway at NBA games.
“As far as the pros, people pay to come and see us, and I appreciate it because I’m able to take care of my family,” he said. “So I don’t really judge fans about what they say, good or bad.”
When asked if he would respond to the beer thrower differently in 2014 versus 2004, World Peace’s eyes lit up.
“If you threw a beer on me, I would probably put you in a choke hold right now,” he said with smile. “And then we would get some ice cream later. But I would tell you how much of an (expletive) you were.”