Friday, Sep. 16, 2011

Ron Artest to Metta World Peace

Call him a chameleon. Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest has been known as a bombastic member of the NBA who — when he was an Indiana Pacer — was suspended for 86 games (losing $7 million) for a brawl in which he fought with a fan. He's also attemped forays into rap, and this year, stand-up comedy. He's also appearing on the new season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. But it's his latest transformation that lands him on this list: Artest has legally changed his name to Metta World Peace. He announced his desire to do so back in June but wasn't able to secure the new name until Sept. 16, when a judge finally made it official. World Peace isn't the first NBA star to undergo a name change. In 1981, Lloyd B. Free, who had been nicknamed All-World, decided to make the name stick — legally becoming World B. Free.

As for World Peace's reasoning: the first name Metta is a Buddhist term meaning loving kindness and friendliness toward others, but World Peace hasn't said whether the change was inspired by religion. He intends to return to the Lakers when the next NBA season opens, assuming players and owners can resolve their current labor dispute. But once the league reopens for business, World Peace will have a new jersey waiting for him in the locker room.