Assigning Buddhism-related names to Lakers roster
In nearly two months, Lakers forward Ron Artest will officially find out whether he can legally change his name to Metta World Peace.
He filled out papers Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court requesting the name change, citing "personal reasons." It remains uncertain if Laker fans would throw away Artest jerseys in favor of a "World Peace" one. In addition to the ongoing question of what name Artest will actually choose to have on the back of his jersey, the L.A. County Superior Court has to approve the name change, which Artest won't know until Aug. 26 at 9 a.m.
Metta, a Buddhist term, is defined as a "strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others," which certainly jives with Artest's advocacy for mental health charities. Should other teammates feel compelled to follow suit and request Buddhist-inspired names (probably not), there's no need to brainstorm ideas. I already consulted this website and did it for them. Below the jump are the results and a possible explanation for each name.
Kobe Bryant -- Queen Invincible Disparaging
At one point during the 2010-2011 season, Bryant joked he didn't buy Phil Jackson's "Zen [bull]" when he made an offhand remark that the team needed to practice more, a thinly veiled reference to Bryant's tendency to sit out most practices to rest his surgically repaired right knee.
This name proves fitting because Bryant's ability to play through most injuries makes it seem as though he's invincible. His contentious on-court emotions often leave opponents (and sometimes teammates) intimidated. Many Laker fans will be split on this, but some believe Bryant acts like a diva from time to time.
Pau Gasol -- Tripitaka Master Gladly-Seen Wailing
Tripitaka is the Buddhist term for "three baskets," referring to the three principal divisions of the Buddhist canon: the Vinaya Pitaka (disciplinary rules), the Sutta Pitaka (discourses) and the Abhidhamma Pitaka (abstract philosophical treatises). Mastering these concepts suggests Gasol is fundamentally sound, but his "wailing" could be a reference to his constant whining to officials.
Andrew Bynum -- Always Carrier King
No matter how often he gets injured, the Lakers' organization has always hailed Bynum as some sort of king because of his 7-foot frame and never-ending potential to become a dominant center. The last two seasons, Bynum has shown that he's managed to overcome his well-documented injury history by playing through his right meniscus tear in the 2010 NBA playoffs and avoiding a major injury during the 2010-2011 campaign.
Mike Brown -- Dharma Teacher Upholder Seal
Dharma is the Buddhist term describing a "phenomenon in and of itself" and a "doctrine" that outlines how human beings should act. Brown fits both descriptions because his hire alone produced varying reactions, with many believing he's unfit to replace Phil Jackson and handle the numerous egos and distractions that surround the Lakers. Brown's also trying to outline to the team his own "doctrine," which includes emphasizing team defense and a faster-paced offense.
Lamar Odom -- Boy Space Thunder
Odom is still a kid by heart. He remains the team's locker room favorite because of his personable and laid-back personality. He enjoys candy as much as your typical 10-year-old. And he's currently living every kid's dream, marrying a reality television star, appearing in commercials and playing for the Lakers.
Derek Fisher -- Bodhisattva Rare Virtue
Bodhisattva is the Buddhist term for someone who's an "enlightened existence." Whether it's serving as president of the National Basketball Players Assn., giving locker room speeches or providing historical perspective on what it takes to win a championship, Fisher shares plenty of wisdom.
Steve Blake -- Monk Moon Stupas
Monk is the Buddhist term for someone who's given up his normal life in favor of a "heightened virtue." Stupa is a Buddhist term for a "burial mound enshrining relics of a holy person." I honestly can't think of how this applies to Blake, but it's still a cool name to have.
Matt Barnes -- Bodhisattva Treasure Demon
Barnes may have "enlightened existence," but not in the way that someone like Fisher would have. Barnes speaks in rapid-fire and eloquent sound bites and often offers terrific insight. But he could also be seen as a "treasure demon." His fiery on-court emotions have cemented him as an enforcer-type player who simply exists to agitate other players. Barnes has already played for eight different teams, so it's clear that it has taken him some time to acquire such wisdom.
Shannon Brown -- Monk Lotus All Pounder
Brown is currently debating whether he should give up his "normal life" in favor of one of "higher virtue," but the reasons don't exactly jive with Buddhist teachings about avoiding material goods. Because Brown has yet to exercise his $2.37-million option with the Lakers, General Manager Mitch Kupchak believes Brown will test free agency. The reasons for that of course point to Brown's hope that his market value will yield a higher offer and that he could assume a larger playing role somewhere else.
Devin Ebanks -- Great Teacher Perceiver Upholding
Even with limited playing time, the Lakers remain highly enthusiastic about Ebanks because of his athleticism, defense and potential. There's one large thing that went in his favor during his rookie season: his overall eagerness to learn. Kupchak, Jackson and Bryant all lauded Ebanks for his unassuming work ethic.
Derrick Caracter -- Bodhisattva Learned Never Demon
It's obvious that Caracter has yet to truly acquire much wisdom. Remaining at the bottom of the Lakers' roster, Caracter hurt his standing with the team after his arrest in a disturbance at an International House of Pancakes in New Orleans. Even though he vowed to stay ready, Caracter self-admittedly lacked the preparation to give the Lakers' coaching staff true confidence in granting him meaningful minutes.
Darius Morris -- Prince Fire Name
The prince term can apply in so many ways. The Lakers just selected him with their 41st pick in the NBA draft. Many also believed that Morris declared for the draft too early after only two seasons with the University of Michigan. But it's questionable he'd be given the name "fire," since his three-point shooting remained ice-cold at 25% his sophomore season.
Andrew Goudelock -- Monk Ever Giver of Children
To say Goudelock gave back to the College of Charleston would be an understatement. Through four seasons, Goudelock finished as the Cougars' all-time leading scorer and the first Cougar to earn the Southern Conference Athlete of the Year award. He also helped carry his team to a regular season championship title and NIT quarterfinal appearance.
Ater Majok -- Dharma Teacher Learned Law
There's going to be plenty of things for Majok to learn because it's unlikely he'll crack a spot on the Lakers' roster. Considering the lengthy and logistically painful process it took the Connecticut Huskies to recruit Majok, his 2.3 points per game average in 26 games left many considering him to be a bust.
-- Mark Medina
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Photos: (from top) 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
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant often chews on his jersey during games. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Lakers forward Lamar Odom is considered to be the team's most popular player in the locker room. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press