Multiple reports in the last 24 hours indicate we’ve lost any prospect of a lasting World Peace. Fortunately, though, the situation isn’t serious because the World Peace in question is Metta World Peace, the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest.
The perennial NBA bad boy and perpetual player to be named later has announced that he has changed his name once again.
Metta World Peace reveals his recent marriage
Metta World Peace, who enjoyed an 18-year pro basketball career, appeared on a podcast hosted by Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green and delivered a bit of news: He’s a married man.
Consequently, he’s going to need new stationery to handle a new name that throws in a wrinkle: He’s going hyphenated. World Peace said he is honoring new wife Maya Sandiford by taking her name. Therefore, he will now be known as Metta Sandiford-Artest.
For those scoring at home, that’s a combination of his second first name, his wife’s name, and his first last name.
Follow the changes and the non-changes
Meta Sandiford-Artest was known as Ron Artest until 2011, roughly two-thirds of the way through a career that began with the Chicago Bulls in 1999 as a first-round draft pick out of St. John’s.
The move from Ron Artest to the Metta World Peace phase of his life came during the NBA lockout in 2011 when he was 31 years old. When asked about it at the time, he had a legendary response:
“I changed my name because I got tired of Ron Artest, he’s a (expletive). And when fans get mad at me, they can’t say, ‘I hate World Peace.’”
Ironically, World Peace turned out to be the person who hated World Peace. He recalls being embarrassed taking off his warm-ups because people would see the name.
“I did think about changing my name back, but then I got used (to it). People got used it,” he said.
He lasted three seasons stateside as Metta World Peace before accepting an offer to play in China and creating more confusion. Widely referred to there as “Panda Friend,” the current Sandiford-Artest says he did not change his name even though Panda Friend was stitched to the back of his uniform.
“People said, ‘Metta’s changing his name to ‘Panda Friend!'” he explained. “So, I just rode with it!”
The former Metta World Peace can’t change the past
Metta Sandiford-Artest can change his name, but not his history. His NBA rap sheet includes 86 technical fouls, 24 flagrant fouls and 11 ejections. Three of those 11 ejections came in playoff games.
His most infamous episode occurred in what came to be known as the Malice at the Palace as the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons engaged in a brawl Nov. 19, 2004, late in their game at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
An already wild fight between players spilled into the stands after a spectator threw a drink at the player known at the time as Ron Artest.
The punishment was severe. Understanding the seriousness of fan involvement, the NBA suspended nine players. Artest was hit the hardest, losing the final 73 games of the regular season and the Pacers’ 13 playoff contests. The lost time cost him $5 million.
Metta Sandiford-Artest was a tough defender
Metta Sandiford-Artest was an outstanding defender in his days as Ron Artest and Metta World Peace. The 6-foot-6 small forward averaged 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in the regular season and slightly better numbers in the playoffs.
On defense, his handling of shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards was regarded as some of the best work in the league. It earned him the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for the 2003-04 season.