Photo ID: A microphone with a photo of Metta World Peace to one side and with text overlay

Speaking Up for Mental Health Awareness: An Interview with Metta World Peace

Curt and Katie interview Metta World Peace about his efforts toward mental health advocacy, awareness, and access. We explore what led him to speak up, the challenges he’s faced as a public figure, his solutions for prevention, and how his businesses and philanthropy support mental health.

Transcript

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An Interview with Metta World Peace

Photo ID: Metta World PeaceMetta World Peace played professional basketball for 19 years. He won the NBA World Championship with the LA Lakers in June 2010 and received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – the NBA’s highest citizenship and community service honor – in April 2011. He was selected to the 2005-06 NBA’s All-Defensive Team, was voted by the media as 2003-04 NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year and was the only man with 271 steals in his first two seasons in the NBA, breaking Michael Jordan’s record. His autobiography, “No Malice: My Life in Basketball” was released in May 2018 with Triumph Publishing and a documentary on his life in basketball, “Ron Artest: The Quiet Storm” was released on Showtime in May 2019. World Peace is currently pursuing entrepreneurial projects including the XvsX Sports project he cofounded in 2017 and an NFT project, Meta Panda Club, to bring decentralized basketball community to the masses.

World Peace is also known as a prominent mental health advocate, pop culture personality, philanthropist, and media favorite. He raffled off his 2010 NBA World Championship Ring with the proceeds going to his nonprofit, Xcel University (now known as Artest University). The online ring raffle raised more than $650,000. Funds were donated to nonprofits in 5 cities that provide mental health therapists and mental health services to their communities, and to provide scholarships to underprivileged youth in the New York City area.

World Peace was part of the 13th season of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, a contestant on CBS’s first edition of Celebrity Big Brother, as well as the CBS competition show, Beyond The Edge. He is active in entrepreneurial endeavors, serves as an advisor to several tech start ups, and seeks to help other basketball players who have aspirations for a pro career with his app and league, XvsX Sports. For more information, please visit https://www.xvsxsports.com/, https://metapandaclub.com/, and https://artestuniversity.org/.

In this podcast episode, we interview Metta World Peace about..

Curt and Katie spent an afternoon chatting with Metta World Peace, exploring his work to reduce mental health stigma. We’re excited to share that conversation with you.

Why did Metta World Peace start speaking about his mental health?

“I’ve experienced so many things – you know you’re playing basketball [as a kid], and you got to duck under the bench, people shooting. Sometimes you got to go to the game with guns in your bag, you know, different things like that, to make sure everything’s cool. And that’s just that’s just not life. Life is tag. Life is freeze tag. Life is… hopscotch when you’re a child… life is learning. That’s life. Kids should be outside playing in parks.” – Metta World Peace

  • Metta shared his story growing up
  • The Crack Epidemic and the impact on his neighborhood
  • The challenges of incarceration, lack of education, and access to resources
  • Building a shell to protect yourself on the streets
  • What you learn and practice in the neighborhood he grew up in
  • The role of history and the impact of slavery on mental health of generations of Black people
  • The number of friends who are incarcerated
  • The role of “chemical imbalance” in the mental health landscape and the family members who have dealt with more serious mental illness
  • Metta’s desire to give back to the mental health community

How Metta World Peace is working to solve the problems that lead to poor mental health

  • The meaning of his name and why he changed it
  • Coming together with all types of people
  • Pushing back on separation and division or divisive statements
  • No guns or drugs allowed in my neighborhood
  • Challenging what has been defined as “life” in his neighborhood
  • The lack of connecting resources (like parks) in all neighborhoods
  • The importance of play and letting kids be kids

The challenges that Metta World Peace faces in putting forward his message

“I’m a colorful, I love comedy. I like to do silly stuff. It’s just fun to me, honestly. But then people want to put me on television to do something silly. But when I want to do something meaningful, they don’t want to do that programming… that’s why I’m so vulnerable, honestly, because I don’t know how else I’m going to get it out to the to the world.” – Metta World Peace

  • Describing self as emotional and colorful
  • Needing to boost his confidence
  • Mental health stigma before his first disclosure (thanking his therapist in 2010)
  • How people perceive Metta versus how he sees himself interacting in the world

Metta World Peace’s vision for the future

  • Everyone has access to mental healthcare
  • Everyone has a chance to have a good life
  • We try to understand each other and what motivates them, what they are going through
  • People coming together to improve society
  • Parenting and partnership training in schools
  • Putting parks in every neighborhood so kids can play, connect, and be kids

What Metta World Peace is doing now

“Sometimes it’s too much [speaking about mental health], you know, sometimes I’m too vulnerable, and it hurt me a lot. Because I’m telling people where I’m from, I tell people how I live.” – Metta World Peace

  • After retirement, Metta is focusing on spending time with his children, partner
  • Speaking up to address mental health disparities
  • Sharing his story to shine a light on the challenges he has faced
  • His desire to do something powerful to make a difference
  • Partnering with OOTify to support mental health access
  • Business endeavors to support philanthropy for mental health
  • Supporting other businesses to be successful
  • Artest Management Group: Embedding philanthropy into all of the businesses Metta World Peace supports
  • XvsX Sports helping athletes to get discovered, compete, and coach

Our Generous Sponsor for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide:

Thrizer

Thrizer is a new modern billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible AND clinicians should earn what they are worth. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer, you can potentially save them hundreds every month, with no extra work on your end. Every time you bill a client through Thrizer, an insurance claim is automatically generated and sent directly to the client’s insurance. From there, Thrizer provides concierge support to ensure clients get their reimbursement quickly, directly into their bank account. By eliminating reimbursement by check, confusion around benefits, and obscurity with reimbursement status, they allow your clients to focus on what actually matters rather than worrying about their money. It is very quick to get set up and it works great in completement with EHR systems. Their team is super helpful and responsive, and the founder is actually a long-time therapy client who grew frustrated with his reimbursement times The best part is you don’t need to give up your rate. They charge a standard 3% payment processing fee!

Thrizer lets you become more accessible while remaining in complete control of your practice. A better experience for your clients during therapy means higher retention. Money won’t be the reason they quit on therapy. Sign up using bit.ly/moderntherapists if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free! Sign up for Thrizer with code ‘moderntherapists’ for 1 month of no credit card fees or payment processing fees! That’s right – you will get one month of no payment processing fees, meaning you earn 100% of your cash rate during that time.

Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!
https://www.xvsxsports.com/

https://metapandaclub.com/

https://artestuniversity.org/

OOTify

Relevant Episodes of MTSG Podcast:

Therapy as a Political Act: An interview with Dr. Travis Heath

Antiracist Practices in the Room: An interview with Dr. Allen Lipscomb

Being a Therapist on Both Sides of the Couch: An interview with Rwenshaun Miller

Let’s Get Political: An interview with Heather Walker Janz

Getting Personal to Advocate for Compassion, Understanding, and Social Justice: An interview with James Guay

Therapy of Tomorrow: An interview with Dr. Paul Puri M.D.

What to Know when Providing Therapy for Elite Athletes (CE podcourse)

What Can Therapists Say About Celebrities? The Ethics of Public Statements (CE podcourse)

Who we are:

Picture of Curt Widhalm, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcast; a nice young man with a glorious beard.Curt Widhalm, LMFT

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: http://www.curtwidhalm.com

Picture of Katie Vernoy, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcastKatie Vernoy, LMFT

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: http://www.katievernoy.com

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

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Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/

Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):

Curt Widhalm 0:00
This episode of The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide is brought to you by Thrizer.

Katie Vernoy 0:03
Thrizer is a modern billing platform for private pay therapists. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer you can potentially save them hundreds every month with no extra work on your end. The best part is you don’t have to give up your rates they charge a standard 3% processing fee.

Curt Widhalm 0:24
Listen at the end of the episode for more information on a special offer from Thrizer.

Announcer 0:29
You’re listening to The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide where therapists live, breathe and practice as human beings. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy.

Curt Widhalm 0:45
Welcome back modern therapists This is The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast for therapists about ways that we can make the world better and improve mental health. And we are recording this during Minority Mental Health Month. We are publishing this just due to our production schedule here a month later. Partially because Katie and I are always moving the conversation forward. We’re not just limiting conversations to whatever month du jour is being recognized. But we are so grateful to be joined today by Metta World Peace and a very publicly out there person as far as mental health about the ways of improving things. And we’re just very thankful for having you here today.

Metta World Peace 1:33
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.

Katie Vernoy 1:35
Oh, we are so excited for this conversation, even just in the brief conversation, we’ve had to get ready for this, this conversation. I’m just really excited to talk with you and to kind of see your perspective on all of this. Because you’ve been living this in a different way than we have. So the first question that we ask all of our guests is, who are you? And what are you putting out into the world?

Metta World Peace 1:55
Well, I think for the most part, I’m probably I’m a father, husband, and I would say a philanthropist entrepreneur, putting out in the world to be your best self, you know, reach for the stars, you know, being a being a philanthropist and entrepreneur has, has a lot of time. So you’re obviously trying to make a difference. So I would say I’m trying to put out there to people to be the best version of you, and reach for the stars. You know, that’s kind of that’s kind of how I’m living my life right now.

Curt Widhalm 2:31
Most of us are probably going to know you from also your basketball career. And just having been a fan myself, and having seen you at various points throughout your career. I remember after, you know, NBA Finals, you getting out and being you know, grabbed off by the sideline and thanking your therapist afterwards for helping put you into a great position. You’ve always very publicly spoken about just kind of where you’re at. And I know that that wasn’t the start of your story. So for our listeners, maybe to help frame them a little bit. Can you share a little bit about what your story has been, as it pertains to mental health?

Metta World Peace 3:18
Yeah, I think growing up in Queensbridge project. We lived in the biggest federal housing projects, and actually back when they built Queensbridge. It was actually a lot of, you know, just, you know, regular Americans, white Americans that was in our neighborhood back in Queensbridge, Long Island City, Queens. Then in the 20s, 30s, that changed, they became integrated. Then in about the 50s, it was being more dominant about just blacks in the neighborhood, you know, throughout the 50s 60s 70s 80s. And it became a lot of Latinos started to come into the neighborhood. So it shifted, the landscape changed. Now it’s being gentrified. Now it’s been more mixed racial, but in between that time, it you know, especially in the 80s, when the crack epidemic hit the city, the country really, it changed a lot. We used to have a lot of great. I mean, the the Federal Housing Project was a project to uplift people, give people a start, but then they kind of changed. So there was like a lot of things going on in the neighborhood. This is years and years and years of, you know, of just struggling in our neighborhood. So then you get a lot of people in our neighborhood that’s like going through different things. So that was like the main thing that caused mental health. From the crack epidemic really caused a lot of stress on families, separating, you know, the moms and the dads. And then you know, then getting arrested for weed and different things like that now is made legal. And as we know, the same people that made the laws to arrest people that was doing that was selling marijuana or smoking are the same people that’s making the laws to be able to sell marijuana publicly right now, which is like really amazing and the same people that’s making money off marijuana because they are able to see what’s going to happen in the future. So they’re able to give this information back to people who understands the business that’s sitting in these meetings, you know, and they understand, okay, they’re about to release these licenses, they’re about to make these acceptable, whatever, but, but the ones that suffering are the ones that’s in jail, which is people like my friends, right? They’re still suffering. And if you if you get arrested for marijuana, right, and say, you would say you’re 12 years old, and you get put in a group home, if you miss out on two weeks of school, when you get back, your teachers gonna say, Okay, you got to catch up, if you can’t catch up, you’re going to fail, you get left back. Right, then when you get left back, you become uneducated, then you’re more likely to commit a crime, right? And then you talking about then you’re talking about that same person that’s, you know, what’s in a group home or in jail or committing crimes. And now multiply that by 100, or 1000. I live in the biggest federal housing project in America, ain Queens, that’s where I’m from. So now you got almost like a war zone, you know, at times, different times in a day. So that when I look at that perspective, you know, on top of not having money on top of not doing that, dude, you’re not having money to take care your family, and different things like that. You know, I think, um, you know, stress could be a, it could could build over time. Right? Okay I remember as a kid having fun playing in the park? I didn’t have money as a kid. I wasn’t rich. But I remember not having to worry. I remember running around playing tag. See my friends asking Mama if food on the table. Okay. I have no food today. All right, cool. Just give me some water, some candy, go back outside. Hey, friends, what are you doing? I remember those days. Right? When it was fun, not fun being poor, but I wasn’t worried.

Katie Vernoy 6:45
Yeah, yeah.

Metta World Peace 6:45
But then you get older, and then you got a whole nother dynamic, then you have to build a shell, then you have to build a shell because you got to protect yourself out in the streets. You know, I’m one kid asked me from Detroit. I was giving a lecture to these kids. And he was like, What do I do if somebody is attacking my mom? Right? And if he attacks that person back, they can go to jail. Right? What do you tell them, Don’t protect your mom, you know. So it’s like that whole dynamic where you learn behavior. It’s like you’re learning education. Or if you learn how to meditate, and you like you, like meditation is the same thing. If you learn how to defend yourself, every day for years, it’s like practicing the jumper is like practicing your free thought, that free, the more you practice, the better you get. Right? So the more you have these behaviors, you know, the better you get at, you know, stress and depression or that doesn’t sound right. But it can build up like a snowball if you have a snowball effect. So, you know, after we’re not gonna look at the whole dynamic, and it took me I’m 42 now. So it took me years and years to learn about the history, because that helped me with my mental health, learning about history. And even like, when you take it back, you know, African Americans came here as slaves. Right? So when you take it back when you was when we were separated from the boat, from our parents, so we came here, you know, when we came here to America, we didn’t have our dad, or mom, I mean, actually had some of the kids was left back home and a man and a woman, they were split up. So with that being said, is a years and years and years of not having someone to really look up to, they’re just looking up to the streets, you’re looking up to somebody who’s stressed. You know, imagine coming home every day and you’re asking for some advice, but that person is stressed. Right? So that’s, that’s your environment. So now, now that I learned all that, I did a ton of history, because I was trying to learn about myself when I did all that research. And I was oh, wow, I really didn’t have a shot. I really should have been in jail tell you the truth. All my friends is a lot of my friends in jail. Right? So you get a lot of friends in jail, whether it’s murder, whether it’s drugs, whether it’s violent crimes, whatever the case, whatever the case may be, right? So when I look at it like that, that makes me want to really attack mental health. Now, chemical imbalance is different chemical imbalance. I have family that had chemical imbalances, my auntie schizophrenic, my little brother, a psychiatric ward, my little sister psychiatric wards. I got my other one about the aunties, you know, medicine, my dad function on medication. So that’s a whole nother issue, that I also want to address and help. I believe we need to support our, you know, our friends and people that’s on medication that’s trying to reenter into the world because it’s really, it’s really hard for them. You know, so I have two different dynamics. It’s a you know, it’s it’s over time. Things that build up in it, sometimes family household situations, and then it’s chemical. Right. So now that I understand that, it makes me want to just like, just give back to the mental health community and not just like, not just my demographic, because we all go through different things, you know, all ethnicities are going through different things when it comes to mental health. Everybody, we’re all human. Right? So everybody’s going through their own thing. Right. So so how do we, how do we get through that? And I think the best way to get through that is to understand your history. Right? And don’t beat yourself up. Right? People, too many people’s beating yourself up for things they can’t control.

Katie Vernoy 10:30
What you’re talking about, is this, just generational trauma, personal trauma. And then also you kind of are leading into this like nature versus nurture thing where some of this stuff is kind of your predisposed kind of, quote, unquote, that chemical imbalance, but also, you compound that with what you’re talking about with this, these broke broken systems. And to me, it seems like, it makes it really hard to feel hopeful. And it sounds like, what you’re saying is, I shouldn’t be on the path that I’m on. This is surprising because of everything that I’ve gone through with all of the stuff that’s happened in my family. And I guess for for me, the question I have is, how do you make sense of that, because it sounds like you’ve been, you know, doing your history, understanding it and giving yourself a lot of compassion and grace for who you are and how you’re showing up in the world. But you’re also now taking that, and wanting to give back to the community as a whole. But it just seems like there’s so much to make sense of here. How do you do that?

Metta World Peace 11:30
It is a lot to make sense about. That’s a good question. And you, you do it by I don’t really take notes on mental health. Like I would do in a business.

Katie Vernoy 11:39
Sure.

Metta World Peace 11:40
You know, like, I’m doing multiple businesses, I’m taking notes, I got these documents, and hundreds of documents that I’m that I’m managing. But on mental health, I don’t do that. Which is interesting. You said that’s so interesting. You just said, That’s so interesting, because we should be documenting, you know, so you can actually speak education, and so you can speak about it more educationally. So you can understand it more. I don’t do that. It’s just all in my head.

Katie Vernoy 12:07
Well it makes a lot of sense when you’re talking about it, I guess I guess the question really is, how do you get yourself to a place where you can give back. Because you’re talking about lots and lots of trauma.

Metta World Peace 12:17
Yeah, yeah.

Katie Vernoy 12:17
Lots and lots of struggle and hard work to get to where you are.

Metta World Peace 12:21
Yeah.

Katie Vernoy 12:21
And instead of saying, okay, I’m good, I’m out. You’re saying no, let me come back and help address this problem.

Metta World Peace 12:29
One, I’m very competitive. And I think one of the things, I want to actually help solve this problem. I also, you know, I changed my name to Metta World Peace, which is Metta was inspired by the Hindu culture, Buddhism, and then World Peace was inspired by, you know, world peace. And I’m straight from the streets, you know, but, you know, and I’m competitive, and I want to see it happen, you know.

Katie Vernoy 12:57
You want to see it happen in your lifetime. Not to say, okay, maybe sometime in the future you solve this problem. You’re like, No, I want to see it in my life.

Metta World Peace 13:03
Yeah, I don’t see it in my lifetime. And I don’t, you know, and then if you look on television, especially back in the day, there’s so much corrupt stuff going on, you know, even with the even with some police, not everybody, I love police, my best friend’s a cop. But even when, like, sometimes you’ll see people, you know, police planting drugs on people. It’s like so much stuff going on, then you look at people that are separate in the country, you know, people that are trying to, you know, really separate black and white. When it comes to race. We talked about black and white. We have other ethnicities out there, right? That not only are you separating, but you’re causing drama. I just say it as black and white. That’s like the big turn when it comes to race, right, black and white. But what about all the other ethnicities? What about people that get along? You know, we have to walk this earth together. And if I’m not mistaken, no matter what anybody does, we have to walk this earth together. You know, so with that being said, I love being around lots of people. I have all sorts of friends. And I’m not going to let anyone tell me, you know, that is not supposed to be like that. Right? So that’s also stressful. You’ll get people that don’t feel comfortable walking around each other, which is like, so it’s like, you know, metta ultimate level of friendship, kindness, you know, which is opposite than how I felt a long time ago, but I felt how it felt because what am I what I experienced, so it was like, just because I experienced something. I’m not gonna let it make me. I’m gonna make me you know, saying.

Katie Vernoy 14:38
Yeah.

Curt Widhalm 14:41
For the time period that you were describing, growing up, what was it like to first start to acknowledge some of the, the things that you were identifying the systemic things, the historical things, the chemical imbalance things? This is largely been something that a lot of America hasn’t embraced until really the last couple of years, but I’m guessing this, you know, in your neighborhood, this was maybe not something that was talked about a whole lot.

Metta World Peace 15:09
It was not. It was not. It was really, it was a, it’s a struggle in our neighborhoods. And I’m pretty fearless when it comes to like my neighborhood, and many different things. I remember my first album cover, it said on my album cover said no guns allowed. You know, I wanted to take on everybody, you know, no drugs, and no guns allowed in my neighborhood, you know, and I wanted to really do it. And so you have to go through me, you know, in order to make it to come into my level, because I’ve experienced so many things, you know, playing basketball, and you got to duck under the bench people shooting, sometimes you got to go to the game with guns in your bag, you know, different things like that, to make sure everything’s cool. And that’s just that’s just not life. Life is tag. Life is freeze tag. Life is, you know, hopscotch when you’re a child. You know, life is learning. You know, that’s life. You know, life is, you know, kids should be outside playing, you know, in parks, you know, in different I got dreams of putting even parks in rich neighborhoods. It’s not even enough parks in rich neighborhoods. There are but you got these big houses. And you got all these kids living in the house. I experienced both sides, you know, and it’s like, okay, at what point do we have somewhere where the kid does go outside and just play? Because we’re human. Yeah, right. Yeah, we’re human. We have all these situations where rich kids committing suicide and different things like that. We’re human. It doesn’t. We can’t get past the fact that we’re human. There’s nothing we could do. No matter how much money we have, no matter how poor you are. We’re human. Right. So that type of stuff is something that I feel like it’s solvable. And at the from the top down, sometimes, you know, when you at the top, you disconnect. Money disconnects you from everything else.

Katie Vernoy 16:55
Yes, it does.

Metta World Peace 17:01
At the top, you need to be more connected, more than any other time, because 7 billion people on the planet, you can’t have 7 billion CEOs we notice.

Katie Vernoy 17:12
Fair? That’s a good point.

Metta World Peace 17:14
We know we can’t have 7 billion CEOs and 7 billion billionaires. We got to make it comfortable. Right. We got to make it comfortable. We got to make people feel welcome in your in this world.

Katie Vernoy 17:24
So you’re talking prevention now, like you’re really talking about let’s come together as human beings. And let’s let children play. Let’s let everybody be safe and feel comfortable. We know that that there’s a lot of people who are spending a lot of money to make sure that’s not true. What do you say to them?

Metta World Peace 17:43
I’d say it right now I know. I’m very fearless. Sometimes. I sometimes when I initially when I first started down this road, you know, I was, um, I wasn’t able to get my message across the right way. It was more just like emotion.

Katie Vernoy 17:57
Yeah.

Metta World Peace 17:57
Right? Sometimes I would do things according to how I felt. But you don’t know how to feel? You just know what I did.

Katie Vernoy 18:05
Yes.

Metta World Peace 18:05
You know, I’m saying? And now I’m able to talk about it. I actually took years off of media, cuz I’m also colorful, I’m also you know, in the games, and I like to do fun stuff, like I might, you know, say something weird on television, just because I want to have fun, you know, and stuff like that. And then I’m also very emotional when I play and very passionate player, right? So you know, so I’m not, so I wasn’t able to really communicate all the time how I feel. And a lot of people is like that, versus now I’m able to communicate how I feel. So I do believe, I mean I sit by myself a lot. Because I’m just into different things like tech, I was an architect, major math, two different dynamics. You know, I might know from being in the streets to wanting to major in architecture, not many people want to major architecture, look at code. So I’m often home just by myself. So in order to keep that confidence going, and not to get not to get down. I need to feed myself confidence sometimes. So I do believe I have some of the best solutions. I do believe I have some of the best solutions. I could be wrong.

Katie Vernoy 18:39
I want to hear these solutions. That sounds amazing.

Metta World Peace 19:23
Yeah, I could be wrong. But I do believe I have the best solutions. But it’s true. Look at what I did when I said I want to take my psychiatrist on national television when I won a championship. It’s stuff like that, that I think about because not everyone could afford $150 an hour for mental health services. And I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. You know, how can I get marriage counseling, anger management counseling, and parenting and whatever else and feel better about myself, but someone else can’t. Right, so I’m always thinking about how can we help a mass amount of people, you know, address issues and not feel like they have to hold it in. And I think it worked, because when I did that therapist was calling me. I didn’t expect this by the way, I did it for people. I did not expect therapists to call me. Instagram, LinkedIn. See me on the street. Thank you so much, my clients, they way more open. I got more clients now. Oh, thank you. Hey, my own personal therapist. She didn’t know I was gonna say her name. But I wanted to thank her, you know.

Katie Vernoy 20:35
Yeah.

Metta World Peace 20:36
And it’s so interesting. This is 2010. I didn’t even know she was a psychologist. I called her psychiatrists. I went on national TV. Yes, I want to thank my psychiatrist. And she called me the next day, Metta, thank you for the compliment, but I’m your psychologist, I’m not your psychiatrist. Oh, wow. Okay.

Curt Widhalm 21:01
I saw you also talking, this is, I don’t know, five or six years ago at SAMSA Voice Wars. And I know that even within the professional athlete community, Shamika Holtzclaw was speaking there, and grew up pretty much in the same neighborhoods, and pointed to you even just as kind of a spotlight for her as you know, somebody else to just kind of give that courage to. As you’ve had all of these kinds of moments throughout your career, especially post playing. How have you seen the responses to your messages about mental health really kind of change?

Metta World Peace 21:42
It is great. I’m so happy. Because if people know people will call me crazy. People will call me crazy. And they will call me a thug. Right? One: If you think I’m crazy, or you might be right, because, you know, you might be right. If you see what I’ve been through, I’m not saying nobody else has been through it. But you see what I’ve been through. You know, you might be right, you know, from the whole, you know, from the, from the, from the, from the parent situation, I’m not even go deep into it, you know, from the family situation from the environment and situation, you know, I had to grow a thick skull, you know, you know, it’s not comfortable coming home, and your friends getting shot up, in the hospital, and happening multiple times. And I’m the connector where I live at. So I know everybody, right? And I’m cool with everybody. I bring people together, you know, versus separate, no matter how hard it hurts, you know, and I have that responsibility. And sometimes it’s big on my shoulders. You know, I’m trying to keep people from killing each other sometimes. You know, it’s a whole different dynamic that people don’t really understand. And then a thug. Okay, you might be right. You might be right, you know, every one of my friends that thugs not all of them, but some a lot of majority, you know, playing basketball playing thugs. It doesn’t mean a bad person, one of my friend’s mom was on drugs. At lot of my friend’s parents was on drugs. Not a lot, I would say 30%. You know, which is very tough to deal with. You know, it’s a different dynamic, and it’s a whole different dynamic. So I got a different perspective on life. You know, I don’t like to judge people, no one. I don’t like to judge people. If I see somebody have an issue. Immediately. I’m like, what has that person been through when they were younger? The worst case scenario, because I can’t expect people to not judge me if I’m judging someone. So I’m always like, trying to figure out like, the backstory on people. Because I believe everybody deserves a shot to be happy. Everybody deserves a shot to experience the other side of them. You know, I have family members that has been an institution from the ages of eight till now. It’d be in 38, 40 years old. They never experienced what is a 13 year old experience.

Katie Vernoy 21:42
Yeah.

Metta World Peace 21:53
What is the 21 year old experience? They haven’t experienced and only experienced the system. You know, so I often refer to when I go to New York City, I always talk about the rats under the ground. They don’t really want to live under the ground, but they have to because we don’t want to see rats. But then you got pet rats around that’s pretty cool. But you know, living in the jungle is not easy. You know, you’re living in people’s always just trying to kill you underground, no light, no sunlight. Right. So even from that perspective, you know, and having that open mind to really listen to someone’s backstory, no matter who they are, you know, even the guy who threw the cup of beer at me in Detroit and pretty much derailed my career with me. And I reached out to him, and we’re cool. I wanted to know his backstory, even though I lost, you know, millions of dollars. But that wasn’t important. You know, it was important was the backstory, like, why did you do that? You know? And who are you? Then I found out more about him. And oh, wow, I can see why he would do something like that, even though he was an a-hole. But I can see why he would do something like that. And I think that’s what people need to understand. You know, I think we get caught up in television, judge judge people, ratings, whatever the case may be, opinions, critique, versus, Oh, I wonder what that person was going through. You know, I think that’s the, that’s what we, and that’s where we got to get to.

Katie Vernoy 25:54
I think those kinds of conversations are really interesting. Because oftentimes, folks are so angry, or they’re so overwhelmed that they don’t even think about the other person’s backstory at all. They don’t think about how do I get to a place of connection. And all of the things that you’re talking about, I hear so many different layers, I hear, we have to fix society, we have to fix the situation so that people are not living in these settings where there’s this horrible I don’t even know the right word.

Curt Widhalm 26:27
Horrible environment.

Katie Vernoy 26:28
Just yeah, just all the trauma all the…

Metta World Peace 26:30
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Katie Vernoy 26:31
You’ve got, you’ve got those situations, you’ve got the you’ve also got the understanding that people are going through stuff, and whether it’s a horrible childhood, chemical imbalance, whatever, what they’ve been trained to do, you’re also looking at, how do we come together? So there’s, there’s prevention, let’s fix society. There’s let’s come together as human beings, which I think maybe actually is required to fix society.

Metta World Peace 26:57
For sure.

Katie Vernoy 26:58
And it’s opening conversations, not just about mental health, not just about substance abuse, but also about as a society, how we take care of people.

Metta World Peace 27:06
Yeah, you gotta take care of people. You’ve got to.

Katie Vernoy 27:09
You, you’ve you’ve teased the solutions that you have. I’m really curious about the solution. What are your solutions?

Metta World Peace 27:16
So I guess one of them, I think parenting is super important to me, I feel like, I think we should be teaching parenting, and partnerships and partnerships in schools. Because if you look at, um, radio, where I learned how to treat women with disrespect at an early age. If you’re looking at my neighborhood in Queens was a bunch of rappers, most of the most rappers in one neighborhood in the world. And we have the best in us, best in us. That is best part of it all. It was just incredible. You know, and when you look at it, when you listen and, now he’s a he’s a real. He’s a realist rapper. Right. But I’m saying when you look at some of the other music, that this that’s that’s being played, when I started to make music, and I was in the NBA, and I was trying to get stuff off my chest, just naturally, I was just disrespecting women. Not like say, not that I didn’t like women, just the words that was coming out of my mouth, was not, you know. So I’m like, if we can learn that at a young age, and I remember my son first started singing rap. He was 12 years old. And I was like, oh, no, at least wait to your 15.

Katie Vernoy 28:26
Four years before I have to have all these conversations with you.

Metta World Peace 28:29
Yeah, I get the rap. And I get the emotion. But some of its, you on subconsciously, you’re learning so I was like, why don’t we teach parenting? Why don’t we teach a kid that when you get older, one day, you’re gonna get married? And you’re gonna go to something one day. And when is adversity you don’t run away? Right? Like this is real lessons. Because when you run away what happens when you run away? You have a baby, you get you run away, you divorce. Your child is hurt. How many times this has happened in my world, struggling? Every kid that experienced divorce is traumatized traumatized. It, we don’t talk about that part enough. So it’s like, we have a big battle. It’s a huge battle. That is really, it’s not hard to win. But if we get distracted, we don’t just keep fighting the battle.

Katie Vernoy 29:23
We don’t also agree on the solutions.

Metta World Peace 29:26
Well, yeah. Well, if people don’t don’t agree, we got to keep fighting the battle. Right? The people that don’t agree with us, we gotta keep fighting the battle and then even parenting, but you gotta give your kids gift, give your children time, one day, you’re going to be rich. When you become rich. You still need to give your kid time because they don’t care about the money. They care about the time. You know. So it’s like stuff like that, that I think could really affect mental health tremendously if we teach the importance on parenting and partnerships in schools.

Curt Widhalm 29:57
And I know that this is not just something thing that you’re out there talking about, but you were really involved in your kids lives.

Metta World Peace 30:04
Recently, I wasn’t always like that. Wasn’t always like that. That’s why I’m heavily involved now took off when I retired people didn’t understand. Hey, man, why don’t you coach? Because when I had my first baby, I was 16, which I planned my baby to. So it wasn’t an accident. I was 16. And me and my significant other, we wanted to have a baby. So we had a baby. And but it was early. And every two years after that, so I was a teenager. I didn’t even get to college yet. So I wanted to experience fun. So and I did. Right. And but then it became a habit. But I thought that well, you make money, you just buy a house. And you just like the the wife is okay in the house. The kids is okay. You just go party. And I was young. Yeah, rightfully so I was young. But that’s it doesn’t matter how young you are. That’s not what they want. They want you. They want you, your wife doesn’t want she doesn’t just only want money, she want you. You know, you gotta and you got to empower the wife. You know, I’m saying you can’t suppress the wife, let the wife go. And, and I didn’t know that. It was things I didn’t know. That’s what I’m saying, I wish I would have known that stuff. And not that I taught myself. But I was like really trying to figure this out? How can I become a better parent? I still struggle with certain things. But when I retired, I didn’t want to do nothing else. I played for 18 years Pro. And I said, You know what? I’m staying home, I want to sit home. And that’s it. And when I come home, my kids will see me at least. So I did that over, over the last well, actually, for the last like maybe 10 years, trying to make up make up for time.

Katie Vernoy 31:49
You said that you kind of learned that. What changed? How did you figure out that they wanted you versus the money you could offer them or the stability, the house?

Metta World Peace 31:57
You know, I think it was just actions. You know, you can see you can you can see that your children is seeking attention. And you started to go hold on, I gotta give more time to my kids. So that and then by that time you lost that other time, they know that they know that. We lost time. There’s not gonna just be, you know, roses right away. You know, so you got to try to figure out how to get that back. But how about prevent that? How about we prevent it? And teach kids like, hey, when you have your baby, whether you’re rich, or whether you’re working? Same thing, because say you’re really rich, and he’s really busy. Right? You’re traveling all over the world? What’s the schedule for time for your children? Like, what program do you have? You know, there’s not just on on ships and buying presents? Or if you’re a nine to five working person. You’re busy too. You know, what schedule do you have, you know, with your children? And I think stuff like that, like we don’t? If you don’t know, you know, then you don’t know?

Katie Vernoy 33:06
Well. And I think if you grew up in a situation where you don’t have role models, you don’t have examples, it’s hard to know what a healthy lifestyle can look like. It can be hard to know what healthy relationships look like, what it means what responsibility to your family can look like, what they actually value in you. I mean, I’m hearing so many things.

Metta World Peace 33:25
Yeah. And that was one solution. Yeah.

Katie Vernoy 33:28
And that’s only one solution.

Metta World Peace 33:29
But it’s my favorite one, actually.

Katie Vernoy 33:30
But it seems to me that you’re very comfortable telling your own story with a lot of humility, to speaking to past mistakes or past knowledge you didn’t have and how you come to that. And it seems like doing that in a very public way could be really hard. I mean, you talked about folks that called you crazy or a thug. But I think there’s also this element of just being really vulnerable in public spaces. How do you take care of yourself when you’re sharing?

Metta World Peace 33:55
I know, I know.

Katie Vernoy 33:56
Because I see the mission, I see that you want to connect people. You want to make this something that that we change and that we change in our lifetimes. But it’s also it’s a lot of work on a day to day basis to be so out there and vulnerable with your own story.

Metta World Peace 34:08
So true. So true, its taxing on the brain. It is really taxing me because I really, I really am making a difference. And like the other athletes and celebrities and philanthropist, they making a difference also.

Katie Vernoy 34:22
Sure.

Metta World Peace 34:22
I think I was early.

Katie Vernoy 34:24
Yes.

Metta World Peace 34:24
You know, in terms of being vulnerable. Dennis Rodman was before me, I don’t think anybody listened to him early though. Dennis Rodman…

Katie Vernoy 34:31
I don’t think you were ready.

Metta World Peace 34:32
I don’t think people was ready. He was telling us a story on Oprah. And I don’t think people was ready to be vulnerable with him and cry with him. He cried. You know, I don’t think people was ready for that. And I think I was second. It’s not easy, but sometimes people don’t listen. I’ll see. Like, for example, there’s a lot of different scenarios I have, but I’ll do something and I’ll see it being programmed on television. And right and I was also trying to get my program on television, but because I have this other image, you know, they don’t want to put me as an executive producer of something powerful. You know, I turned down, I turned down a lot of opportunities. Because people always, you know, I’m a colorful, I love comedy. I like to do silly stuff. It’s just fun to me, honestly. But then people want to put me on television on television to do something silly. But when I want to do something meaningful, they don’t want to do that programming.

Katie Vernoy 35:27
Yeah.

Metta World Peace 35:28
And they don’t want me to be in a position to tell them how it should be. You know, as as a producer, I’m, you know, I’m a producer of, but so I tell my story on social media, I’ll tell my story on news outlets. You know, it’s like an ongoing program. And I use traditional media to tell the story for me, you know, and lately, I’ve been just turning down opportunities. Because everybody say, Hey, do this. Wear a funny hat. I’m like, No, I want to, I want to do a program and help me build it. Because if I say I want to do a mental health program on a big network, okay, I’m not a producer, I’m a defender, I play defense. You figure it out, figure it out, I play defense, and I’m making an impact. So and I want to do something on big, you know, and I feel like everybody has a shot. And I feel like, you know, so from that perspective, that’s what, that’s why I’m so vulnerable honestly, because I don’t know how else I’m gonna get it out to the to the world.

Katie Vernoy 36:27
You’re putting it all on the line.

Metta World Peace 36:28
Sometimes it’s too much, you know, sometimes I’m too vulnerable, and it hurt me a lot. Because I’m telling people where I’m from, I tell people how I live. And sometimes like, you know, corporations don’t want to hear that on television, commercials, different things like that. And I always wanted to be that guy, I always wanted to be that loving guy. Like, I always say, like Tim Duncan, I love Tim Duncan, but he’s just like, he’s such a good guy, such a professional guy. I always want to be that guy. I made it to the pros. And I also wanted to do that also. But where I’m from, I had to stay I wanted to stay relatable. And I felt like I was never going to be able to relate if I only portrayed that image. So it had to be told. That’s why I was very vulnerable. And people actually got a chance to see who I was, which was a caring person. And, and, you know, when they locked up 57 People from Queensbridge on Newsday, in New York City, everybody in New York, know where I’m from, you know, they all know where I’m from they all know I’m entrenched in that community. And, but that should not, that should not deter someone from doing stuff with me, you know, should actually encourage them to do more stuff with me with me. But from that perspective, I just feel like you know what, I’ll just be vulnerable. I want people to know my story. Because right now is some kid going through that. White, Black, Asian doesn’t matter. Is some kid going through exactly what I’ve been doing. That is not being heard.

Curt Widhalm 37:56
Our audience being mostly therapists, with all of your publicity, all the projects that you’re doing, what is it that you wish that therapists knew better or understood to help kind of further along a lot of the things that you’re trying to do here?

Metta World Peace 38:15
I’m a big fan of therapists. I actually, we need more therapy is more therapists, we need more social workers, we need to pay them more, honestly.

Katie Vernoy 38:23
We definitely agree with you on that one.

Metta World Peace 38:24
We do. We do. We need to pay our therapists more. We need more programming around it, we need. We need our officers should be taking therapy lessons, our firemen, our doctors, and it should be paid more or paid to do a class, because you’re going to come in contact with people in our officers are, let’s talk about our officers and firemen. And I’m not biased towards any party. You know, I’m me. I’m not biased towards anything. But let’s just just take it from from from a different perspective now. They have families also.

Katie Vernoy 39:05
Yes.

Metta World Peace 39:06
But they’re protected, but they’re here to serve the public. They are literally going out the bed to serve the public. Some of them don’t, but the majority of them do.

Katie Vernoy 39:14
There’s good and bad everywhere.

Metta World Peace 39:16
Is more good than bad, honestly. But with that, from that perspective, they should have free therapy. Right? They should also have some type of social worker license where you can communicate with people. Right? You’re walking amongst people that you don’t even know, I can walk down the street right now. And I literally could blend in with anybody or talk to anybody. You know, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I just like you know, and I feel like that’s super, super important. And we also need to have more. We need to have more funding for therapy. We need to have more funding, so people can get into this field. You know, different things like that. And I think for with therapist perspective, in fact therapists are doing great. I mean, they got into this job for a reason. What else? I don’t know what else to tell them. But keep doing keep doing amazing stuff. I mean, some, I had one therapist that was, it turned into a fan session.

Katie Vernoy 40:18
Oh, no.

Metta World Peace 40:19
Only one time, though.

Katie Vernoy 40:20
Oh, no.

Metta World Peace 40:20
It never happened a lot. But one therapist is like, it was so funny, but but the majority of my therapists, I had a lot of had a lot of them over 30 over my life, probably have over 30 over my life. You know, and, you know, for the most part, I feel like therapists just keep doing what you’re doing. We need to we need to support, if anything, maybe be more of an activist.

Katie Vernoy 40:44
Oh, yeah, that’s that’s exactly what we tell our therapists that are listening to the podcast is that if we can find ways to advocate and help change the system, I mean, obviously we’ll benefit.

Metta World Peace 40:54
Yeah, yeah.

Katie Vernoy 40:55
We’re able to do better work. But I mean, the mission of what we do is helping people be their best selves, helping people to live better lives.

Metta World Peace 41:02
Yeah, yeah.

Katie Vernoy 41:02
I think it’s something where, you know, a lot of therapists are told to kind of sit back in their offices and hide out and we’re like, no, go out.

Metta World Peace 41:08
No, go out.

Katie Vernoy 41:09
Do it. Go out.

Metta World Peace 41:12
That’s true.

Curt Widhalm 41:13
Well, speaking of going out, you have some projects, and how we’re all getting involved here together, you’ve got an event coming up here in a couple of months.

Metta World Peace 41:23
Yes. OOTify, I’m so happy about OOTify is one of the first companies that came to me, and really respected the work that I’ve done in mental health, in terms of a partnership.

Katie Vernoy 41:39
Sure.

Metta World Peace 41:39
I mean, let’s talk about making a difference. And let’s also talk about economics. You know, therapists get paid, right? And you got, we have all these new mental health platforms. And they come to me and say, oh, man, I think you change the world. But you don’t want me to be a part of your project. OOTify actually came to me and was like, Hey, we respect what you did. And we want you to be a part, we actually want to hear your thoughts. You know, before I got into business, I was only doing therapy. And, you know, I only think about philanthropy, sorry, I was only thinking about philanthropy, and helping people in the mental health space. Specifically. That’s all me and Heidi would talk about, never business. The only reason we got into business is because, like, we wasn’t getting support, we needed money to continue to join, cuz I was my first half of my career, I was coming out of pocket. Um, I can’t keep coming out of pocket. Because, you know, to do good things is expensive. I can’t help the world.

Katie Vernoy 42:33
No.

Metta World Peace 42:33
You know, and I’m at the forefront. I’m way ahead of these corporations, some of them, in terms of mental health. So come just give me some money. Give me back. I proved that when I when I raffled off my championship ring, we raised $600,000, $671,000. Hired a high school kid from Tennessee, and said, figure out where to give this money to. And this is public news. He’s not you know, so so. So why why not support that? Why? Why fight it? Yeah, I’m wondering the best in sports in sports at this, you know, so with that being said, OOTify’s incredible. We’re going to do a golf event focused on mental health. And we want to bring out the corporations, the influencers, hopefully, some investors, and yeah, we want to build relationships. But we also want to center it around, you know, it’s changing the narrative on mental health, or being more supportive of the narrative. But I do believe now, we have a lot of, I do believe, as a lot of great stories being told a lot of great companies, you see a lot of corporations getting involved now, which is great. A lot of corporations get involved in mental health for some. I’m really happy about that. And I’m hoping with this OOTify event that we’re going to do to play some golf, have a good time. You know, and just like, you know, I keep pushing forward.

Katie Vernoy 42:33
Maybe just so our audience, we’ve we’ve been friends with OOTify for a while, but maybe you can tell a little bit of what OOTify actually is.

Metta World Peace 44:00
Absolutely. So, OOTify is a platform that finds different services for people that need help. What you know, is, everybody’s different, right? So some, some people might need medication, some people might need might need therapy, some people might need a different form of therapy, you know, because everybody’s so different. And OOTify provides, you know, layers of different options. Which I like, because I don’t want to pigeonhole anyone. I’m not really, I lean more towards psychology. But I’m not opposed to psychiatry. I’m not opposed to other methods. You know, because I do, you know, some people do have chemical imbalances and different things like that. So with that being said, I think OOTify is a platform that gives you options, and that makes me really happy. You know?

Katie Vernoy 44:49
Yeah, well, and they’re also kind of in the tech space. And you said that that’s something that you’re really interested in. What, how’d you get interested in tech?

Metta World Peace 44:56
Tech is great. I think um, my first major I remember when I was going to college actually take it back? When I was in high school, I wasn’t always a great student, but I really love school. But I just couldn’t pass my classes. And that’s because I wasn’t really I didn’t get the proper teaching as a kid. And I was I was really stressed as a kid.

Katie Vernoy 45:16
Of course.

Metta World Peace 45:17
We go through so much. When I got older, you know, I got into math, and my junior high school math teacher, he was very strict, no matter how much stress I came into class, when I was 13, he will always keep it at math, he will always bring it back to math, you know, focus on your tests. And I remember it was a older white gentleman, heavyset white gentleman. We had no relationship. But we had a math relationship. And it changed my life. You know, it made me feel like I could do something. So and I thrived at it. I wasn’t good at comprehension. So reading Well, I’m really bad at comprehension. I passed SATs because math. There, when I got when I went to college, I said, You know what, I’m gonna major in architecture. I didn’t, I wasn’t the best student, but I said, I’m gonna push it. I’m competitive. And I went to, so all my colleges that was recruiting me, I wanted to make sure to have architecture majors. Two of them didn’t, three of them did. So the Notre Dame, and Miami, I could have went to either one, which is an honor, I’m still honored to this day that I was able to visit Notre Dame. And they knew I wanted to be an architect and I needed help. Could I couldn’t just go into it, just be good student. So then I went to NBA years past, retired, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be home. So I say I want you to give me the rap full time, I need to be a coach full time, I’m gonna get my series seven, or I’m gonna do digital marketing. So I did rap for a while. I didn’t want to be traveling and out late nights and being in a clubs and being with my children again. So I scratched that. In coaching the same thing, I didn’t want to be away from my children a lot. I wanted to be home. So I had to scratch coaching. I study for my series seven, it was really difficult. So I wasn’t prepared to go through it. So I just scratched that. And then digital marketing. I went back to UCLA for digital marketing, for social media, digital marketing. I did some coding classes, I went to Vancouver for for a two week Google Analytics course. I went to Concordia Irvine in Irvine on Saturdays for Business Analytics. And I wanted to see if I had the endurance, but when I figured out how to do endurance. And I loved it. And I knew I wasn’t great when I started. This is like 2015 or something like that. 16. But I said, You know what, I still want to do it. And then it led to seven years later, you know, I still have the endurance, I do get tired, but I have the endurance. And now that led me to focusing on tech companies, you know, so I’m like, if anybody’s in tech, I work AWS, GitHub, Apple developer, Firebase, Google Analytics, CLEVEO, Airtable. All the tech platforms, managing dev shops, and building other people’s companies. You know I have I have quite a lot of female companies that are launched in the healthcare space. That you know, these females are, have opportunities to make tons of money if they help me sales. So, but I didn’t start that way. Honestly, I was very like green. And my first pitch deck was actually a piece of paper. I didn’t know what I was doing. I went to a big VC. And I said, Hey, this is what I’m doing. And this is my pitch. So, you know, that’s it, and now led me to be here. You know, with OOTify and other tech companies.

Katie Vernoy 48:55
Yeah, you make it sound like and so the last 10 years, I’ve been sitting at home with my kids. No, you haven’t sitting.

Metta World Peace 49:03
Listen I’ve been working.

Katie Vernoy 49:04
You’ve been working. But it sounds like everything that you do has been very tied to really giving back, giving opportunities, and really…

Curt Widhalm 49:13
And leading by example.

Katie Vernoy 49:14
And leading by example.

Metta World Peace 49:16
Yeah, I tried to embed philanthropy because I was doing so much philanthropy and I told my partner, Heidi, I said, Heidi, we’re doing so much philanthropy, we’re not making any revenue. Because all we want to do is philanthropy. So I was like, We got to figure this out. You know, so I said, I didn’t you know, years pass. We said, How about we embed philanthropy in everything we do?

Katie Vernoy 49:38
Oh, that’s so smart.

Metta World Peace 49:38
Where you can’t break it. You can’t break the code. Yeah, you also like, just give back to help people. If I can help someone. And they can do better. I mean, you know, job well done.

Katie Vernoy 49:51
It seems like there’s kind of a special sauce that makes you you, and yet you also see how everyone should have an opportunity, have a chance. Not everybody can be a billionaire. Not everybody can be a CEO. But, but I just am really curious if you could either tell all the youth today what you think or go back in time and talk to your to your younger self, what do you think that kids in the situation that you grew up in or even in other situations that are challenging, What did they need to know?

Metta World Peace 50:21
For one? I would say, just because I grew up in the streets, doesn’t mean I had the biggest struggle. Right. I think everybody goes through their own thing.

Katie Vernoy 50:30
Yeah.

Metta World Peace 50:31
You know, I think, I think, identify, I think trying to do history on yourself, like, do you understand yourself? Some people say we don’t just I don’t I don’t know who I am? It’s true.

Katie Vernoy 50:42
Yeah.

Metta World Peace 50:42
You know, I really, it was a point in time, I didn’t know who I was, like, I don’t know, I just don’t know. But that’s why I had to do history. And try, you know, especially, it’s really hard for, for black people, African Americans, because, you know, the history is that a lot of history is erased. So it’s hard to like really pinpoint where your history which is really important. But if you attempt to learn about yourself and your history, I think that’s really important, no matter what ethnicity you are, is really important that you understand your history and understand who you are. You understand your family history. I remember when I was doing my marriage counseling, that’s where I learned a lot. Because my marriage counselor was saying, Okay, we’re gonna get your mom, we’re gonna get your dad. And we’re gonna do therapy sessions together. I did therapy sessions, with my family. Never did that before. And I found out things I didn’t know. I found out that my mom and dad was having problems and I was in the belly. And before I was in the belly, and then it made sense. You know why I’m like this kid. They say, they say Metta or Ron Artest is so passionate. He’s such a tough kid. Yeah there is a reason why I’m so tough. I prefer not to be tough. Yeah, I prefer just to be talented. But I had to be tough. You know, I’m saying so from that perspective, now, when I learned that now more vulnerable, I don’t care. I don’t mind telling people. I see therapists, or I cry during movies, or I cried during tennis matches. Tennis, tennis make me cry. Because it’s so it’s so it’s so inspiring, inspiring to see one person versus the other. And they have so much passion, but it’s like different things like that, that, you know, now I feel comfortable. And I feel like now I’m more empowered. You know, even though I’m six, six and 250 right now 300, but one of the strongest small forwards to ever play the game of basketball. All that cool, but I’m still a human being. I can’t get up and fly. You know, I can’t get up and fly. I can. I can hold you scoreless. I can do that. Yeah.

Curt Widhalm 52:54
We want to be very thankful and respectful of your time and give you an opportunity to let our audience know where they can follow you and all of the various projects that you’re working on here.

Metta World Peace 53:06
Now, I really appreciate it. I mean, thank you so much. Because, you know, I’m definitely appreciative of having an opportunity. But yeah, I think for the most part, I have a company called Artest Management Group. I had this concept back in 2009, before I retired, and I wanted to build a management company, embed philanthropy, versus only focus on philanthropy. And this way, I can generate revenues, I can continue to give back, so I can sustain what I want to do. So that was the that was the goal. So we just decided to strictly focus on business. And sometimes I’ll tell people, I’m not doing philanthropy no more. Because they caught me at the tail end. I got burnt out. So now I have Artest Management Group, which we launched companies, we help incubate companies. We have a company called Easy CareLink, which is a founded by a poor female lady from the Philippines came here became a nurse. She saw a problem that in hospitals, it was a shortage of nurses. She’s trying to solve it. I’m currently doing lots of money, lots of money, revenue and building. And I’m really happy that I’m able to help her. I have another female founder is a company called Intrinsic, where we manage athletes, taxes, reconciliations, billpay. We have big clients like Canelo Alvarez, who was one of the biggest boxers in the world. And I remember when she didn’t have she was a she was like a junior accountant. And I helped her launch her company. So I’m really excited about that company. We have OOTify, which I’m one of my portfolio companies. We have Experts Exports, which is my company I’m really focused on which is what is the only when I’m CEO of okay, everything else is just I’m just help out.

Katie Vernoy 54:53
You gotta hear about this company then.

Metta World Peace 54:55
It’s a basketball company, right? Well, we we focus on giving creative I’m sorry, we focused on competitive basketball experiences and turning athletes, teams and leagues into digital assets.

Katie Vernoy 55:11
That’s cool.

Metta World Peace 55:11
Yeah. So it’s, it’s pretty cool. And our vision is to help athletes that was never able to get discovered before maybe you work at Starbucks. Maybe you work at Walgreens, because you have to, but you’re really good, you’re talented player, we want to give you opportunity to still compete. Female, male. Also, we want to give you an opportunity to learn how to coach, general manage teams, own teams. So our platform is like an Uber for basketball. We want to take it global, we also want to give opportunities for a basketball players to travel. You know, so even even if you can’t play basketball, maybe you want to be a coach. On our platform you can learn maybe you maybe you’re the best coach in Encino, oh, maybe somebody from the NBA recognizes you. Or maybe somebody from a local college recognizes you. Never would have had an opportunity before to coach or general manager, NBA team, or even own an NBA team or even work in the front office. And this is the whole experience. When you talk about competitive basketball experiences. Competitive competition is not only players, competition takes effort from everyone. So that’s something that we know that I’m really happy about. And once again, we’re bringing people together. During COVID, we brought people together. And this is not a video game. This is actual in person events, bringing people together around the world.

Katie Vernoy 56:30
That’s amazing.

Curt Widhalm 56:32
We will include links to Metis projects in our show notes, you can find those over at mtsgpodcast.com. Follow us on our social media, we’ll continue to share the golf event that’s being done with OOTify. And we’re at this point planning on being out there ourselves. Continuing to have this conversation continuing to elevate all of the various stuff that continues to make our mental health system better. And until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy and Metta World Peace.

Katie Vernoy 57:03
Thanks again to our sponsor, Thrizer.

Curt Widhalm 57:06
Thrizer is a new billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible and clinician should earn what they are worth. Every time you bill a client through Thrizer an insurance claim is automatically generated and sent directly to the client’s insurance. From their Thrizer provides concierge support to ensure clients get their reimbursement quickly and directly into their bank account. By eliminating reimbursement by cheque, confusion around benefits and obscurity with reimbursement status they allow your clients to focus on what actually matters rather than worrying about their money. It is very quick and easy to get set up and it works great with EHR systems.

Katie Vernoy 57:47
Their team is super helpful and responsive and the founder is actually a longtime therapy client who grew frustrated with his reimbursement times. Thrizer lets you become more accessible while remaining in complete control of your practice. Better experience for your clients during therapy means higher retention. Money won’t be the reason they quit on therapy. Sign up using bit.ly/moderntherapists and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free. You will get one month of no payment processing fees meaning you earn 100% of your cash rate during that time.

Curt Widhalm 58:22
Once again, sign up at bit.ly/moderntherapists and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free.

Announcer 58:32
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