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Ron Artest says he'll pay parking tickets to become Metta World Peace

August 30, 2011 | 10:15 am

Ron Artest

We all thought last week that World Peace would finally arrive -- in the form of Ron Artest legally changing his name to Metta World Peace, of course.

Artest sent out tweets indicating he'd have a barbecue to celebrate his proposed name change. Lakers fans anticipated having to buy a new jersey. Reporters came to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse to hear the outcome of the petition.

But World Peace was put on hold, a court official said, because "Ron has to clear outstanding traffic warrants" before his next scheduled hearing on Sept. 16. Artest said in a phone interview that he wasn't too bummed about the news, adding "We're going to BBQ on the 16th."  

First things first regarding his two undisclosed parking citations.

"I'll pay them off," said Artest, who added that neither citation was related to last summer's incident in which he was pulled over for driving a race car without proper registration. "I didn't take classes on how to pay parking tickets. I'm taking classes. Anything you don't know, you have to learn in college. Just don't park at meters you're not supposed to park at."

Lakers fans planning to buy a new Artest jersey may want to consider that there may be even more changes on the way. In addition to planning to change his number to 70 next season, Artest said at some later point he also wants to change his number to 89. The reason, he said, is related to Martin Luther King Jr., who once said, "Without justice, there is no peace."

"7089 was Martin Luther King's jail numbers when he was locked up," Artest said. "It's about fighting for what's right. It's about peace. It's about sticking together. You see it now. You see a lot of youth sticking together. It's all about letting them understand to stick together."


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-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Ron Artest. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press / October 13, 2010