LOS ANGELES — Metta World Peace has been keeping a close eye on the Knicks and what’s been going on between Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony. It’s brought up some memories for World Peace when he and Jackson “had clashes” at practice.
World Peace said that when Jackson would say things to get under his skin during Lakers practice, he would scream profanities at the coach, who didn’t care. World Peace was impressed with how Anthony has handled this situation.
“Phil’s going to push you,” World Peace said before his Lakers faced the Knicks on Sunday night. “He’s going to see where your mind’s at. And Melo responded well. I’ve seen the comments. I like the fact that Melo didn’t back down. I like the fact that Melo did have some competitive comments and he went back at Phil. So it reminded me of when Kobe [Bryant] went back at Phil.”
Anthony said Saturday that he and Bryant have had “countless conversations” about Jackson, who essentially said Anthony can be a ball-stopper in an interview with CBS Sports Network that aired Tuesday.
Anthony posted two things on Instagram and Twitter that were directed at the Knicks’ president. He said the Knicks don’t need “any negativity” and didn’t like that “a temporary black cloud” was over them.
Jackson approached Anthony before practice Saturday and Anthony said they cleared the air. Anthony said he asked Jackson why he’s always talking about him, and later told reporters that his boss has “got to be careful with the choice of words that he uses.”
World Peace, 37, a Queens native and former St. John’s star who played for the Knicks in 2013-14, said he likes what he sees from them.
“Melo said, ‘We’re going to stick here and be with the team. We’re not listening to anything on the outside,’ ” World Peace said. “That was great. That was great, man. And that’s what the Garden needs, man. They need that controversy. They need it, man.
“When I was there, everybody was so tense. They need that little shake-up. And they’re playing well. They started out rough, and now they’re playing well. And Melo responded and he’s playing the right way. He’s playing much better.”
World Peace, who was on the Lakers’ 2010 NBA championship team, said tension can be good. He said Jackson thrives on it and likes it when players are angered by his comments.
“When something’s wrong, you just address it,” he said. “And Phil’s not going to hold punches. And I think it’s great . . . He [doesn’t care]. That’s what he wants. He wants that.”
It’s not only Anthony whom Jackson has upset recently. He also drew the ire of LeBron James for calling his friends and business associates “a posse” in an interview with ESPN.com.
Lakers coach Luke Walton, a two-time champion playing under Jackson, hasn’t been surprised by any of this.
“He’s been saying stuff that gets people upset since I’ve known him,” Walton said. “It doesn’t surprise me. I wish I knew. Phil’s a unique individual that does a lot of things people don’t understand, but he normally has a pretty good reason and purpose behind stuff.
“A lot of times I don’t understand why [he says things]. But most of the controversy, we normally came out, played better, harder, and won games. So he’s got his own technique on how he does things. But most of the time, in my experience with him, it normally works out.’’
The difference is that Jackson was a coach then, and now he’s the president of the team. World Peace said that doesn’t matter.
“He don’t care,” he said. “He does what he wants. He gets the big bucks and says what he wants to say. That’s why he gets the big bucks. He’s the boss, at the end of the day. He can say whatever the hell he want to say. Who is running the show?”
World Peace then was told Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract.
“Then they’re both running the show,” he said. “So hey, it is what it is.”