Everyone wants world peace, but perhaps none so much as Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest. As of today the NBA champ will now be known as Metta World Peace, a name he officially requested in June. After dealing with a couple of traffic tickets, a judge finally granted Artest his wish just in time for the new season of ”Dancing with the Stars,” where he will compete alongside Peta Murgatroyd.
‘World Peace’ had already adopted his new name on Twitter and it also appears on a black T-shirt for sale on his website. In Buddhist culture, his new first name, Metta, is used to describe positive emotions, and is equated with kindness and compassion.
Several other sports figures have acquired unconventional names:
- In 2008, NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ochocinco, a reference to his No. 85. At the time he told the Cincinnati Bengals’ website, “Have I ever had a reason for why I do what I do? I’m having fun.”
- Tiger Woods, born Eldrick Tont Woods, has not legally changed his name, but his nickname, Tiger, is here to stay. Woods’ father chose the name Tiger in memory of a Vietnamese soldier he befriended during the Vietnam War.
- Professional wrestler and actor The Rock used to go by his less-fitting birth name, Dwayne Douglas Johnson.
- And perhaps the most famous example of all: boxer Muhammad Ali was once known as Cassius Clay, but changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam.