Lakers' Ron Artest looking to change name to "Metta World Peace"
Just when you thought you had seen it all regarding Ron Artest ...
The Lakers' forward filed paperwork in Los Angeles County Superior Court to legally change his name to "Metta World Peace."
"It's true, he did," said Heidi Buech, who was Artest's longtime publicist until resigning earlier this week.
Artest has informed the Lakers of his plans but has not yet filed paperwork with the NBA to apply for a name change on the back of his jersey, Lakers spokesman John Black said.
“My understanding is ‘Metta’ will be his first name and ‘World Peace’ will be his last,” Black said.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson went through a highly publicized name change to Chad Ochocinco in 2008.
For a long time, Artest carried the reputation as an instigator in the infamous "Palace Brawl" in 2004, but he seemed to complete a personality turnaround in recent years.
Last December, he raffled off his 2010 Lakers championship ring, raising about $600,000 for various mental-health entities. Two months ago, he received the NBA's citizenship award for the 2010-11 season, as detemined by pro basketball media members.
The charismatic Artest, 31, is due back in court for a name-change hearing on August 26, according to court records.
The attorney who filed the proposal, Jill Rubin, said she was handling the change of Ronald William Artest Jr.’s name “procedurally, as a matter of course,” and had no additional information as to why the 14-year NBA veteran who helped the Lakers to the 2010 NBA title was doing so.
Rubin referred The Times to a contact reached by email who didn’t immediately respond.
--Mike Bresnahan and Lance Pugmire
Photo: Ron Artest is introduced before a Lakers-Spurs game last season. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times