Former NBA star Metta World Peace said his son Jeron Artest hopes he can play for the Philippines basketball team one day.
"My son is so proud to be Filipino. He really wants to play for the Filipino national team one day. He's extremely, extremely excited to be here," he said.
World Peace is in Manila to support his son's first stint in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) League. The 18-year-old Artest played for FilAm Sports USA, together with U.S. top high school prospect Jalen Green.
World Peace assisted in coaching FilAm Sports in their final game against the San Beda Red Cubs on Thursday. He got called for a technical foul in the second quarter for entering the court while complaining to the referees.
FilAm Sports lost, 98-91, and dropped out of contention. Artest fouled out late in the game after delivering 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
"I'm definitely happy for this basketball event, I think it's really amazing," said World Peace. "The key thing that I want the Filipino kids to take away is that if you put your mind to something, you can do absolutely anything you want."
World Peace shared the achievements of his son on and off the basketball court, including the scholarship offers he received from different prestigious schools. He said Artest is determined to pursue his education and inspire other kids.
"Jeron Artest does not only want to build his basketball brand out here in the Philippines," said World Peace. "He also wants to inspire the kids by education. Education is extremely important to him."
World Peace also took the opportunity to raise awareness about mental health.
"We should always support the mental health of the youth because if you're growing up poor and you're growing up with nothing, it could be frustrating when basketball is not as important anymore," he said. "When you're going through stuff, when you're struggling, don't be afraid to seek help. Don't be afraid to tell someone you need a hand. Don't be afraid to ask for support. This is for all the youth out there across the Philippines. That's what me and my son is about."
FilAm Sports bowed out of the competition but the Artests will continue to participate in the NBTC events this weekend.
World Peace will speak in the coaches' convention that will take place on March 22-24tat the Mall of Asia Arena. The young Artest, on the other hand, will see action in the All-Star Game on Saturday.