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Magic Johnson criticizes Ron Artest's name change (Video)

October 4, 2011 |  3:26 pm

Figuratively zipping his lips, Magic Johnson laid out a pretty decent reason why he couldn't talk about the NBA lockout or the current Lakers.

"Heavy fines if I talk about it," Johnson told NBC's Jay Leno on the "Tonight Show," since he remains an executive vice president with the Lakers. "Like a million dollars."

Apparently that zipper wasn't too tight, because it only took a little bit of prodding before Johnson criticized Ron Artest's decision to legally change his name to Metta World Peace. While Artest's publicly stated he hopes the name change would bring more awareness to world peace, Johnson sees it as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

"What is the announcer going to say, Jay?" Johnson said. "How is he going to announce him? Ron, come back down to Earth please."

Ron-Ron would if only he weren't swept up in tweeting false news that the NBA lockout has ended, news that no one really believed anyway. But as nauseous as Artest's attention-grabbing antics can become, his concern should mostly point to his declining abilities. Still, it remained clear that his off-court activities, such as appearing on "Dancing With the Stars," irked Johnson.

"I thought he would go out sooner," Johnson said. "I couldn't believe he did it in the first place. I love the show, but that's a lot of time [to spend]."

-- Mark Medina

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