Metta World Peace can now add children’s literature to his wide array of hobbies and career endeavors. The current professional basketball player, former Ron Artest and sometimes rapper and comedian has released “Metta’s Bedtime Stories,” a collection of five short stories, co-authored with Heddrick McBride, which can be purchased, by clicking here.
Lakers Nation chatted with Metta at length today about his motivation for delving into children’s literature. Peace talks about how being a professional basketball player was not his dream as a kid. Plus, was Peace ready to talk about his player’s option?
A transcription of Peace’s interview with Lakers Nation is below.
Serena Winters: You have a basketball, a rap career, and are promoting mental health awareness and now you’re making your way into children’s literature with this book “Metta’s Bedtime Stories.” Was this something you always wanted to do or did someone approach you with this idea?
Metta World Peace: When you throw out positive energy in the universe, you get positive energy back. My buddy from high school we had a lot of great games together, Heddrick McBride, he was a smart kid. He reached out to me and said ‘Hey let’s do a children’s book,’ and it was something I thought of but not nothing I thought I could accomplish. I was actually writing a book for kids, but it wasn’t what Heddrick McBride has in mind, so when he called me about this book I thought it was brilliant. He put his touches on it, and made some changes and the book came out perfect.
SW: The title is “Metta’s Bedtime Stories.” Was that always the plan for the title or were there some other names you guys were throwing around?
MWP: Yes that was the number one title because we encourage kids to read since they’re children. We encourage parents to promote reading and children will most likely enjoy reading and education is very important and right now, especially where I came from, educational battles, we are losing. We have to be able to compete globally in education, math and sciences and I thought this is a good start. We have a lot of other things planned to get these children a competitive education.
SW: You’re hoping this book allows parents to become closer with their children…You didn’t have the smoothest childhood growing up…What type of motivation did you draw from that and can you talk about what your relationship was like with your parents?
MWP: My relationship was cool. My parents tried hard to raise us. It was bumpy and a rough road, but they raised me well. They taught me to respect people and with those characteristics that they gave me, I kind of just let it carry over. I’ve been doing a lot of great things thus far in my life and I’m really happy with where I am at in my life right now.
SW: Did you actually read any bedtime stories yourself growing up?
MWP: I read the Dr. Seuss books a lot. And, it’s much better when a parent reads to a child, because it’s more intimate, it’s more love, but I read a few on my own. I really enjoyed the Dr. Seuss books. It’s cool because even at school the teachers would read those type of books to us at school and when you are a child you really enjoy those moments. I definitely enjoyed those Dr. Seuss books.
SW: You have five different stories in your book, one of which is titled “I’m Afraid of The Dark.” What was your biggest fear when you were a kid?
MWP: Definitely being afraid of the dark is something that I can remember when I was little as a kid. And I don’t know why every other kid is not afraid of the dark but sometimes you get parents that read to their children and then they shut the lights off, sometimes you get parents that might not read to the children, kids probably don’t feel comfortable at that time falling asleep with the lights off…so many things going through their mind. So, we thought “I’m Afraid Of The Dark” was a good way to build confidence in the kids who are afraid of the dark.
SW: Out of those 5 stories, was there one that you felt you could relate to the most?
MWP: I think “Reach For The Sky” is something we can all relate to. It’s something that as a kid…we always dream of being a singer, you dream of being a math teacher, you dream of being a professional player, you dream for world peace, you dream all the time and as a kid there is no dream that is too big.
SW: Did you always dream of being a basketball player growing up?
MWP: No, I never dreamed that I wanted to be a basketball player growing up, but I did have bigger dreams. I had dreams of traveling the world and meeting many different types of people, dreams like that. But as far as a professional player, no.
SW: How does this tie into mental health awareness?
MWP: It ties in because mental health is a complicated subject. There is so many different ways you’re affected so it’s like, how do we combine everything and be efficient with it and get other people excited about supporting kids, supporting teens, supporting adults’ mental health. One of the ways we can become stronger from an educational standpoint is supporting the kids and getting them help, counseling, therapy whatever and I believe kids need help with their grades, so they should get started early. We started with the teannagers but now I gotta kind of step back. We want to encourage kids even before they become teenagers to help steer them in the right direction.
SW: It’s been a pretty crazy road of life for you. With the Internet and technology, young kids can hop online and Google your name…With kids that idolize you and want to follow in your footsteps, is there anything from your past that you’d want to say to them not to do?
MWP: I think information is definitely important. The main thing is that you move forward, that’s what is most important. In other people’s cases, its different, maybe they want to continue to do the right thing. Me, I’ve had rocky roads, so for me it’s more about being an example. I think that’s honest and people can relate.