The book on NBA players who changed their names is not that thick. There have only been a handful of ones who legally altered the way they want to be referred to. The list includes the likes of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Bison Dele, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, World B. Free, Hakeem Olajuwon, and others. Most of them changed it for religious reasons, while some used their nicknames as their official names. All of them were satisfied with their new names and decided to keep them. Well, all of them except this guy.
Someone who just started watching the NBA will hardly be familiar with the name Ron Artest. Not because we’re talking about a lesser-known player, but because this NBA champion has changed his name. In 2011 Ron Artest became Metta World Peace. This former NBA player, infamously known for his participation in the “Malice at the Palace,” is one of the most memorable NBA characters. He justified his name change by saying he got tired of Ron Artest, who most people associated with the brawl in Detroit.
“I changed my name because I got tired of ‘Ron Artest, he’s a [expletive].‘ And when fans get mad at me, they can’t say, ‘I hate World Peace.’ World Peace is going on the back of my jersey, so Metta is my first name. It’s Buddhist, but I’m Baptist.”Metta World Peace, via LA Times
After nine years of being World Peace, the former Lakers forward has changed his name once again and may have become the first player in league’s history to do so. He is keeping his first name Metta, which is a Buddhist term meaning “loving kindness.” However, he decided to change his last name once again.
“My name now is Metta Ford-Artest. I actually took my wife’s last and added it to mine.”Metta Ford Artest, via Inside The Green Room
Artest played in his last NBA game in the 2016-17 season. However, he played abroad in China in 2014, and there were rumors that he changed his name back then. After signing a one-year deal worth $1.43 million US to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales Artest commemorated the occasion by changing his name to “Panda Friend.” People were skeptical about the rumors and were proved wright following Metta’s tweet.
“Guys my Chinese name is not ‘Panda Friend,’ it’s The Pandas Friend,’”Metta World Peace, via LA Times
Never change Panda’s Friend, Loving Kindness Ford Artest. Did I get it right?