Written by: Miguel Rocha

Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest stopped by Manila for a couple of days. We linked up with MWP to talk Gilas, Panda’s Friend and Game of Thrones.

// Welcome to Manila, Metta. How’s it been so far?

MWP: I’ve heard a lot about Manila. Kobe’s been here a lot. Jordan Clarkson. Shoutout to Snippet Media for bringing me over. I’ve been to China more than 20 times and it’s my first time here. My son Jeron has been here a lot so I heard some good stuff from him too.

// Jeron Artest, your son, has been said to be fixing his Philippine passport before he turns 16.

MWP: Yeah he’s half Filipino. I feel like I'm half Filipino spending time with his Grandma and all the halo-halo. Jeron has been very motivated, he’s an incoming senior now in high school, very academics driven. He was the one who told me about one day playing for Gilas. Very smart kid. He's also an encoder, he can hack into video games. Ivy league schools like Yale have been recruiting him. Very smart and driven.

// Talk about your clothing line The Panda’s Friend and its brand direction.

MWP: It was originally called Tru Warier and we made the switch to Panda’s Friend. I was actually playing in Chengdu where there are a lot of Pandas. That place inspired me because my career hasn't been perfect and we wanted to make a positive impact.

// Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have said that you’re welcome anytime at the Lakers organization. Will there be any Lakers involvement from you this year?

MWP: Yeah, my last stint was with the Lakers so I will definitely help out in any way I can. I just didn’t get too involved last summer because I’ve never went on a long vacation since I started playing in the NBA. I already talked to Luke. I’m headed there and excited to help out the young guys.

// Let’s talk about Game of Thrones. I heard you’re a big fan.

MWP: Oh yeah.

// Do you think Drogon is dead?

MWP: F**k. Drogon is not dead. He’s just injured, he’s hurt. He’s been hit twice now. I think he should retire before he becomes the first dragon to become a White Walker.

// Which character would you be?

MWP: I like Khaleesi’s former assistant. The guy with the scale disease, Jorah.

// You recently toured China along with some of your biggest rivals. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. How is that casual relationship now that they are retired?

MWP: Garnett is such a cool guy. He’s funnier than Kevin Hart. Pierce too. On the court, Paul Pierce was such a trash talker. But I love those guys.

// Was that a big adjustment from then to now?

MWP: On the court, I was taught to hate. Growing up, if you were on the opposite side of the court, there was nothing about you I like. When I got to the NBA, even if you were my friend on the other team, I hated you. There was a deep amount of hate, you feel me? Looking back, I think that was the wrong approach.

// Any chance of you suiting up in the Philippines?

MWP: I don’t know where I’m going to end up but I play basketball everyday so I will be in shape. I played in China for the Chinese fans. One day, I hope to replicate that for the Filipino fans as well.