It’s not the coolest name change in sports history, World B. Free has him beat there, and it’s not exactly a novel idea when Chad Ochocinco beats you to the punch a few years before, but Ron Artest’s pending name change to — get ready — “Metta World Peace” is a real thing. An all-too real thing.
Apparently, Lakers radio reporter John Ireland broke the news on his show earlier Thursday, and TMZ picked it up from there. AP confirmed the madness is true. Metta World Peace, with “Metta” apparently a word derived from the Buddhist religion and the Sanskrit language meaning “friendliness,” “benevolence” and all manner of other heartwarming descriptions.
It’s the latest move from the kindler, gentler Ron — er, Metta World Peace. In the 6 1/2 years since he charged into the stands in Detroit to confront someone who had thrown a drink at him, Peace has rebuilt his image through his play with three other teams, won a championship in Los Angeles, auctioned off his championship ring to raise money for mental health research and care, all while staying incident free. He tended to clang quite a few jumpers as the Lakers disappointed and fell in the second round of the playoffs last month, but how can you get angry at a guy with “Peace” on the back of his jersey?
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