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Posted at 09:54 AM ET, 06/24/2011

Metta is Ron Artest’s new name, and other celebrity name changes


Ron Artest wants “Metta” on the back of his jersey from now on. (Stephen Dunn - Getty Images)
People change the names they were given at birth because they’ve gotten married or gotten divorced, because they’ve changed religions, or because their name is difficult to pronounce.

And some people change it just because.

Ron Artest announced this week that he’s changing his name to “Metta,” which means peace or happiness in Pali, a language of the Indian subcontinent.

Artest has filed a petition in L.A. County Superior Court to change his name and wants the new name on the back of his L.A. Lakers’ jersey.

He tweeted Friday:

Metta is a Pali word meaning loving-kindness. Metta chanting is the radiation of loving-kindness towards all beings: Super dope!!!less than a minute ago via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply

Many musicians, actors and personalities changes their name before becoming famous — Ben Kingsley was once Krishna Bhanji and Woody Allen was once Allan Stewart Konigsberg — but others change them afterward. And then change them a second time. Here’s our round up of some of the most memorable moniker changes over time:

Sean Combs

The American rapper, singer, and record producer has changed his handle so many times it’s hard to keep track. “I’ve gone as Puff, Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, King Combs — my real name is Sean Combs — and for a week, this week only, you can call me by my new name, Swag,” he said last month ... which really helped clarify things.

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince

Well, we still call him Prince but the Artist was unpronounceable back in the early 90s, when he changed his name to a symbol that combined the gender symbols for male and female.When asked in a 1995 interview about his name change, he said, “I get by. I don't need a name as such, really.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Following the model of Cassius Clay, who later became Muhammad Ali after joining the nation of Islam, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. also changed his name when converting to Islam. Now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the basketball player’s name was held up in Jon Stewart’s rally late last year as an example of how we stereotype.

Cat Stevens

Steven Demetre Georgiou decided to adopt the stage name of Cat Stevens in part because his girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but also because “I couldn't imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for ‘that Steven Demetre Georgiou album.’” The musician changed his name again after converting to Islam in December 1977, to Yusuf Islam.

Chad Ochocinco

In 2006, American football player Chad Johnson started to say that he’d like to be called “Ocho Cinco,” which means eight five in Spanish. (85 is the number on his jersey.) Johnson was fined $5,000 for using that name on the back of his Atlanta Falcons jersey, and so he decided to legally change his name in 2008. In 2009, Ochocinco announced on youstream that he was changing his name to Hachi Go, which means eight five in Japanese, and said nothing was stopping him from changing it again. Ochocinco never made the legal change to Hachi Go. In 2011, he said he is legally changing his name back to his birth name of Johnson.

YOUR TAKE: If you could change your name, what would it be?

Are you a "Mercedes" trapped in the body of a "Julie"? A "Jacob" going through life as an "Edward"? Tell us. If you could change your name, what would it be? Use #MyNewName.

Ugo Chiabe RT @washingtonpost: If you could change your name, what would it be and why? Tell us, use #MyNewName http://wapo.st/jsXeZrless than a minute ago via SocialScope Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost I'd change it to a ridiculous name that will make people cringe "SugarNova" #MyNewName http://wapo.st/jsXeZrless than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost #MyNewName CLEOPATRA SELENE i like all about ancient egypt i know that Cleopatra is the most historical queen in egyptless than a minute ago via Dabr Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost I really really love the name Sofia (in Spanish form) thinking of naming my future daughter that instead #MyNewName #Mexicoless than a minute ago via UberSocial Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost My name would be Amy Morgan 'cos I am tired of everyone not making an effort to get my Indian name right. -Priya #MyNewNameless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

If I could legally change my name, it would be Mara. It is what I go by. My legal first name is Christy but Mara is my middle #mynewnameless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost when i was younger i did, but now i'd refuse. i've only ever met two other male Rene's in my life #MyNewNameless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

By  |  09:54 AM ET, 06/24/2011

 
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