The Los Angeles Lakers have a new name on the roster now that Ron Artest’s bid to change his name to Metta World Peace has been approved.
The decision, rendered by Superior Court Commissioner Matthew St George after a brief hearing on Friday, completed a process begun by the NBA player in June, when he said he wanted to change his name for personal reasons.
The official change was delayed pending resolution of a traffic ticket.
The player, whose full given name is Ronald William Artest Jr, helped the Lakers win the NBA title last year.
Superior Court spokeswoman Patricia Kelly said his new surname is World Peace, while the player’s publicist said his chosen first name of Metta is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness toward all.
“Peace” hasn’t always been a hallmark of the 31-year-old forward’s career.
NOT SO PEACEFUL
In 2004, he received one of the longest NBA bans in history for his role in a brawl with fans in which he raced into the stands in Detroit, Michigan.
He recently testified before Congress in support of mental health legislation.
As the NBA wrestles with labor issues in a lockout that could threaten the start of the season, he’s preparing to display other talents as a contestant on the upcoming season of the hit TV dancing competition Dancing with the Stars.
OTHER NAME CHANGES
World Peace isn’t the first high-profile US athlete to make an unconventional name change.
In 2008, Cincinnati Bengals gridiron star Chad Johnson legally changed his last name to Ochocinco.
In 1981, NBA player Lloyd Bernard Free changed his name to World B. Free.
And in 1964, boxing legend Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali.