Despite once famously being part of the Palace Brawl during the closing minutes of a 2004 Pacers-Pistons game, Ron Artest is now striving for peace. World Peace. And thus he has changed his name.
A court commissioner granted the Lakers forward's request to officially change his name to Metta World Peace on Friday, three weeks after the bid was blocked because of Artest's unpaid traffic tickets. His first name will be Metta, which is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness and friendlieness toward others.
Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world, World Peace said in a statement. I'm glad that it is now official.
World Peace was expected to attend the hearing, but about an hour after the court doors opened, his attorney, Nahla Rajan, announced that the Lakers forward was not coming. A few minutes later, Commissioner Matthew C. St. George approved the name change in a hearing that lasted about 30 seconds, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to World Peace's publicist, Courtney Barnes, his client had been contemplating the switch for years, but it took many years of research and soul-searching to find a first name that was both personally meaninful and inspirational.
Once the NBA lockout ends and play resumes, if it ever does, World Peace will wear sport a new No. 70 jersey with World Peace on the back.
World Peace's eight-year-old daughter Diamond has already said she wants to adopt her father's new surname.