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Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 05/14/2012

Metta World Peace on James Harden: There’ll be no handshake


Metta World Peace returned just in time for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

Really, would it kill Metta World Peace to reach out and shake the hand of James Harden?

Particularly with the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder opening what should be a tough Western Conference semifinal series tonight in Oklahoma?

Don’t bet on it. World Peace says he doesn’t plan to make any overtures to Harden, who received a concussion from World Peace’s flying elbow April 22. For the flagrant foul, for which he was ejected, World Peace received a seven-game suspension that ended, conveniently enough, just in time for him to be available for Game 7 of the Lakers’ series against the Denver Nuggets. World Peace , who apologized on his website after being suspended, hasn’t seen Harden since the incident and has no plans for living up to his new name.


James Harden, after being flattened by Metta World Peace. (Reed Saxon / AP)
“I don't shake substitutes' hands,” World Peace said after his 15-point, five-rebound performance Saturday against Denver.

Harden isn’t just any “substitute,” though. He’s the winner of the Sixth Man Award, as well as the guy World Peace injured. Oddly, if this is Handshakegate, World Peace says it’s the fault of the Thunder.

“I shake everybody's hand before the game, but Oklahoma City, they don't shake hands,” World Peace said. “Only some of them, but I don't think they really shake hands before the game. Kendrick Perkins and now [Russell] Westbrook don’t shake hands, either. [Westbrook] used to shake hands, but now he don't shake hands anymore.”

All of which means that the handshake will be closely scrutinized tonight. World Peace and Perkins have a Belichickian history in that department and Oklahoma City fans have discussed turning their backs on World Peace during introductions. “I used to go and shake hands,” World Peace said. “I've been playing against Kendrick forever. Kendrick, he'll never shake your hand so I'd have to go and find Kendrick and shake his hand. In Boston, every game I'd have to go to him and say, ‘Hey,’ and then tap him on the butt. He don't touch my hand. But I'm getting tired of making that walk.”

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By  |  12:37 PM ET, 05/14/2012

 
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