Q&A: Metta World Peace on Lakers, coaching and his budding acting career

The sun will soon set on Metta World Peace's career as a professional basketball player. The former All-Star, formerly known as Ron Artest, spent the 2014-15 season out of the NBA before returning to the Los Angeles Lakers as a rarely used reserve.

World Peace, 37, remains focused on helping the Lakers however he can, but he also plans to be ready for the future after retiring as an NBA player.

That's part of the reason World Peace was one of several NBA players who starred in "The 5th Quarter," a mockumentary series about fictional sports stories available on the streaming video site go90.com. World Peace co-wrote the episode in which he starred, helping come up with a fictional story about a relationship with a vision-impaired boy that inspired his name change.

World Peace discussed his interests in acting, coaching and more in a recent conversation with ESPN.com.

Tell me about your experience filming "The 5th Quarter" and working with producer OBB Pictures.

Metta World Peace: It was a great opportunity to get back into acting and pursue my career in acting and entertainment. "The 5th Quarter" was an opportunity because it was a huge platform with go90. I thought it was a really good opportunity just for me to be on the big screen and get closer to the thing I've always been interested in doing, which is feature films and sitcoms and stuff.

Did you enjoy doing comedy?

MWP: Comedy, drama, the genre doesn't matter. For me, as long as I'm having fun, that's what is important. Comedy is great. People get a chance to laugh, and I love when people laugh.

You mentioned acting aspirations. Is this something you want to do full time when you finish up with basketball?

MWP: Not full time, but I want to do a lot of it, though. If I need a month to shoot a movie, I can do that. It's all about the opportunities that are presented. I don't look at it as full time. I look at it as fun.

What interests you about acting?

MWP: It's an easy decision to want to be an actor. Any child's dream is to be on TV. Now that I'm older, it's something that still interests me. ... I'll do any role. It doesn't really matter. As long as the production is good and the writing is good, I'm in.

I understand you've also kind of dipped your toe in the coaching waters. Are you going to be the first coach/actor in the history of the NBA?

MWP: Well, hmmm. I don't know, because I haven't quit playing. Maybe there might be a coach out there right now who gets there before me, so I'm not sure. But I definitely want to get into coaching one day.

What makes you think coaching is a career path that would be a good fit for you?

MWP: When you get a chance to be around something that you're going to watch on TV anyway, I mean, that's just a great opportunity. I'm going to watch basketball regardless of whether I coach or watch it on TV. Same thing with boxing and same thing with football. When you get a chance to be up and close to it, when you get a chance to contribute, that's just what's really fun about it.

Are you interested in coaching at the NBA level? I've heard that you might actually want to coach high school ball.

MWP: I did high schools [in 2014-15]. I was the assistant coach at Palisades High School [outside of Los Angeles], boys and girls. We actually won a championship. It really don't matter what level, but I definitely want to get into it. Preferably the ultimate goal is to be a professional head coach one day.

Do you feel as if you're making the transition into coaching right now with your role with the Lakers?

MWP: Not really. I don't like to jump the gun too much. I like to stay in the moment. I'm just making sure I'm ready to play. I'm not thinking about coaching right now. I'm just thinking about staying ready.

What's it like to play for a head coach who is younger than you and who came into the league when you were already established? You had four seasons of experience when Luke Walton was drafted.

MWP: It's good. Luke had a nice career, a long career, won two championships. With that being said, I think that he transitioned well. He was a coach as a player anyway, so it only made sense for him to coach.

The Lakers are winning more than a lot of people anticipated they would this early in the rebuilding process. Why do you think Walton has been able to reach guys like D'Angelo Russell and some other young guys on that roster?

MWP: A lot of the guys who said the Lakers were not going to win, those guys have never been champions. They never played. Luke is a champion. If you've never been a champion, you don't know what it takes. Luke knows what it takes. That's why a lot of the guys that are saying the Lakers won't do anything, they don't really understand. Luke knows what it takes to win.

What makes him successful as a head coach?

MWP: His will and his heart. A lot of people don't have that will to get him over the top. Luke is constantly teaching. We're always getting better every single day. I just want to learn more and more. Luke is teaching me a lot also. ... I'm still learning about cutting, I'm learning about timing. It's been great for me to learn from such a great coach like Luke. He's definitely going to be in the Hall of Fame. I can see him in the Hall of Fame, absolutely, one day.

You mentioned there might be a guy who beats you to the coach/actor category. Luke Walton seems like a pretty cool dude, and he's there in Hollywood. Do you think he has acting potential?

MWP: You'd have to ask him. I don't even know if he wants to do Hollywood. I know he's really focused on coaching.

What about Rick Carlisle? You played for him in Indiana. Could you see maybe Carlisle teaming up with Jim Carrey?

MWP: I don't think Rick Carlisle is into acting. He's into coaching. Rick Carlisle is an X's and O's guy, but he's the type to tell jokes when nobody else wants to tell jokes. Or maybe everybody else wants to tell jokes, and he's not ready to tell jokes. But I definitely don't think he's into acting.
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