Ron Artest's 'Metta World Peace' and More Odd Celebrity Name Changes

VIDEO: Former NBA champion files to officially change his name to Metta World Peace.
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Say goodbye to Ron Artest and hello to ... Metta World Peace.

The Los Angeles Lakers forward filed paperwork last week to change his name. Why? That's not exactly clear, but perhaps the once bombastic basketball brawler wants a new moniker to fit with the more relaxed attitude he's taken on in recent years.

Beyond the obvious implications of making "World Peace" part of your name, "Metta" means loving kindness and compassion in Buddhist culture.

Of course, plenty of celebrities have changed their names in a not so out-of-the-box fashion. Jennifer Aniston was born with a mouthful of a last name -- Anastasakis. (Her parents, John and Nancy, changed their family name to Aniston on the advice of the actress's godfather, actor Telly Savalas.) Jon Stewart was once Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; Steven Tyler was born Steven Tallarico.

If Artest was trying to outdo some of the more outlandish celebrity name changers that have come before him, though, he's got some competition:

In 2008, fellow pro-athlete Chad Ochocinco nixed his given surname, Johnson, in favor of the Spanish phrase meaning "eight five." But the NFL wide receiver seems less than smitten with his decision. In 2009, he announced he wanted to legally change his name to "Hachi Go," which translates to "eight five" in Japanese.

That plan didn't pan out. Earlier this year, he told ESPN he's giving up the whole thing and going back to Johnson. "I don't have a choice right now," he said. "I've done enough with the Ocho thing." For now, he's still officially Ochocinco.

Lady Gaga may just be a stage name for now, but given the pop star's penchant for embracing the outlandish (remember the meat dress?) it wouldn't be surprising if she eventually made it official.

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta isn't the first Gaga. Slate found out that there was a Babylonian slave owner in the sixth century B.C. named Gaga and a Madame de Gaga from early 20th century France. The latest Gaga's name was actually inspired by an autocorrect error in a text message her former manager sent her.

But no one can top Prince, who in 1993, famously eschewed a pronounceable title for the "Love Symbol #2," better known as this. Since no one could say his name, he became known as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince," which persisted until 2000, when he dropped the symbol and went back to his original, much less wordy moniker, Prince.

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