Los Angeles Lakers player Ron Artest wants to be known as “Metta World Peace” from this day forward. And he’s not kidding.
Artest has filed a petition with the L.A. County Superior Court to have his name legally changed, TMZ reports. Provided no one challenges it, the name change should go through in August.
Why “Metta World Peace”? Artest cites “personal reasons” for wanting to change his name. Metta is a Buddhist concept encompassing friendship, goodwill and kindness, and world peace pretty much speaks for itself.
Artest has been known throughout his career for his, let’s say, outside-the-box ways. He’s been a solid player for a long time, but he’s still probably best known for the 2004 brawl between the Indiana Pacers (his team at the time) and the Detroit Pistons, in which he went into the stands and took swings at several fans. He was suspended for the 2004-05 season and was traded to the Sacramento Kings the following season.
He’s also supposedly asked for time off from the NBA to help promote an album he produced (also in 2004); posed for a PETA ad urging people to have their pets spayed or neutered; and publicly thanked his therapist after helping the Lakers win the 2010 NBA title.
(We’re kind of hoping the name change goes through; the NBA hasn’t had a moniker this cool since Lloyd Free changed his name to World B. Free in the early ’80s.)
It’s unclear whether Artest’s jersey will have “Peace” or “World Peace” on the back of it next season. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak seems to favor the latter, telling ESPN, “I’m an advocate of World Peace.”