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Ron Artest asks L.A. Times Lakers blog readers to call him Tru Warier

October 17, 2010 |  1:02 pm

Plenty of readers on the L.A. Times Lakers blog debated whether they should continue to call Ron Artest "Thriller" or switch to a different nickname. The name had caught on after Artest wore No. 37 in honor of Michael Jackson's hit single "Thriller" going No. 1 on the billboards for 37 consecutive weeks. But with Artest changing back to his original jersey number, 15, some wondered if a new nickname should come with it.

When I asked Artest, after the Lakers' 102-95 preseason victory Saturday over the Denver Nuggets, whether fans should call him by a different nickname, he appeared rather nonchalant. But I figured I'd give him the platform on, you know, addressing such a pressing issue.

"They call me Ron Ron. They call me Tru Warier. Tru Warier is what it is, though," said Artest, who also had a record label by that name. "That's my New York name."

So should they start calling you Tru Warier? "Yeah," Artest said, sheepishly.

In other news, Artest also shared details of his plan to auction off his 2009-10 championship ring. Artest will raffle it off on Dec. 25, meaning Santa will be getting tons of Christmas requests this year, and there will be something to talk about beyond the Miami Heat.

The auction starts Oct. 27, a day after the Lakers' season opener against Houston, where fans can purchase a minimum of five raffle tickets for $2 each through Artest's website. Those proceeds will benefit Xcel University, a charity Artest supports, with funds directed toward two as-yet-determined mental-health causes.

--Mark Medina

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