Ron Artest to Change Name to ‘Metta World Peace’

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The Lakers' Ron Artest shoots a free throw in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

We hope his new moniker fits on the back of his basketball jersey.

For Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest, this is no tiny tweak – he’s making a monumental name change. Following the likes of Muhammed Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the basketball star is the latest athlete seeming to take a cue from Eastern religions. He’s poised to officially become “Metta World Peace.”

The soon-to-be Mr. World Peace (or will he opt simply for Mr. Peace?) cites “personal reasons” for the desired change. While it appears the name stems from the Buddhist tradition, there’s no word on his adoption of a new religion along with his new moniker. The word “Metta” is a multifaceted word in the Buddhist faith, referring to a feeling of benevolence and kindness.

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Perhaps Artest is really just trying to shed his bad boy image by shedding his old name. After all, he’s connected with one of the most heinous brawls in NBA history when he attacked a fan in 2004. Artest, playing for the Indiana Pacers at the time, ended up with a suspended for the remainder of the season, missing 86 games. Since then, he’s been known as a strong advocate for mental health.

Artest will have to bring his request before a judge on Aug. 26 to lock in the new name.

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