Metta World Peace–the sui generis character who plays professional basketball for a living–is playing for the Sichuan Blue Whales this year in the Chinese pro league. To take full advantage from a marketing standpoint–and to assimilate in his new country–World Peace has taken on a new name: Panda Friend. But that’s not the news.
What’s news is Metta’s new kicks. Apparently the ferocious 6’8″ forward will warm up before each game in a pair of shoes that look like the result of a collision between the Kmart footwear department and the kids toy/pajamas aisle. Metta’s own team has reportedly designed the shoes, which have a bear’s head (supposed to be a Panda, we think) and little arms attached. The World Peace peeps told Courtside Access that “before every game, I will be wearing the white or black shoes. The top part of the shoe has a panda on it. I will be throwing it to a friend in the crowd. The person who catches it will be the Panda’s Friend of the day.” What the Panda Friend of the Day is entitled to is unclear as yet, but you can count on the former Ron Artest to make it special. Of course it could all be a joke–like a jackalope. (If World Peace has proven anything, it’s that he has a sense of humor.) That said, it would be completely awesome if World Peace actually played the games with the bears on his shoes. (A follow-up to the Courtside Access story says the bear does not detach.)