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Ron Artest explains wanting to change his name to Metta World Peace

June 29, 2011 |  7:05 pm


The buzz surrounding Ron Artest's request to change his name to Metta World Peace has caught on so quickly within the past week that Ron Ron's noticed fans addressing him by his new name at the airport.

While Artest ran a summer basketball camp, Artest's players broke out of their huddle shouting "World Peace." And just days before a possible NBA lockout, Artest stole the show on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption to explain his sudden name change.

"I always like to be on the move as far as creatively, thinking about things and marketing," said Artest,   who credited the idea for a name change to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. "I really wanted to be inspirational."

Artest's request for a name change, which will require approval when he meets with the Los Angeles Superior County Court on Aug. 26, goes beyond adding more to his offbeat persona. Artest sees the effort as extension to his mental health awareness efforts, which included testifying before Congress on behalf of the Mental Health in Schools Act, appearing in a public service announcement with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, raffling off his own championship ring for $651,006 for various mental health charities and filming a reality show that involves rehabilitating inmates at various correctional facilities. 

"This has actual meaning to it," Artest said his name, Metta, a Buddhist term that is defined as a "strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others." "People will have to research it. If kids want to know what it means, they have to go to the dictionary."

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Photos: Lakers forward Ron Artest disagrees with a referee's call during a playoff game against the New Orleans Hornets in April. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times