Metta World Peace is no more — the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest is now in the process of changing his name to ‘The Panda’s Friend.’ Yep! Really.
Today in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not news, basketball player Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace is changing his name once again to reflect his move to China to play for the Chinese Basketball Association’s Sichuan Blue Whales. His new name? “The Panda’s Friend” — but don’t call him “Panda Friend”. That’s not his name, according to Mr. Friend.
Metta World Peace Name Change: Player Becoming ‘The Panda’s Friend’
You’ve got to respect The Panda’s Friend for doing him and not caring what anybody else has to say about it.
Metta tweeted the news of an upcoming name change on August 5:
New Chinese name coming soon. You guys are going to love it!!!!
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 5, 2014
Once Chinese media reported on the name change, TPF had an important correction to make on August 7:
Guys my chinese name is not “Panda Friend” , its “The Pandas Friend”.
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 7, 2014
Also, we’re kind of sincerely, genuinely, not-joking in love with Metta World Peace/The Panda’s Friend right now.
Ron/MWP/TPF, born Ronald William Artest, Jr., made his first name change in September 2011 to Metta World Peace. (First name “Metta,” last name “World Peace”.)
“Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world,” he announced in a statement at the time.
Metta World Peace: Will His New First Name Be ‘The’ Or ‘The Panda’s’?
Metta (as he is still legally known) signed to the Sichuan Blue Whales on August 4, so he wasted very little time in undergoing the process of another name change to better reflect his upcoming career move. He was waived by the Knicks in February, so we’re glad that the most positive guy on the planet has another gig lined up.
Metta is best known for his tenures playing for the Indiana Pacers from 2002-2006 and for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2009-2013.
So, HollywoodLifers, what do you think about Metta’s name change? Perfect? Too crazy? Just crazy enough? What do you think his first name will be? “The,” or “The Panda’s”? Let us know!!!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner