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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 09/16/2011

It’s official: Ron Artest changes name to Metta World Peace

TGIMWPD! (Thank god it’s Metta World Peace Day!)
Go on and celebrate, Mr. World Peace! (Mark J. Terrill - AP)

After months of anticipation, and one little snag in the process, Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest has officially changed his name to “Metta World Peace.”

To answer your next question, ‘Metta’ is his first name, ‘World Peace’ his surname. Which means this fall — or whenever the heck the NBA resumes play — the artist formerly known as Ron Ron will sport his new No. 70 jersey with ‘World Peace’ on the back.

The name change is simply the latest in a series of significant changes to the oft-troubled NBA star’s lifestyle. Since sparking an infamous brawl in the stands in a 2004 game in Detroit, World Peace has become an advocate for mental health awareness and treatment, raising around $600,000 toward the cause, according to the Los Angeles Times.

World Peace’s publicist, Courtney Barnes, told CNN that his client had considered the name change for quite some time but couldn’t quite decide on the proper first name to go along with his sure-fire last name choice.

“Ron Artest, (World Peace) has contemplated the name change for years and always knew that he wanted his last name to be World Peace but it took many years of research and soul searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational.”

Ah yes, Metta World Peace: inspiration for all. Including his 8-year-old daughter, Diamond Artest, who has apparently already decided she wants to share her dad’s last name (from TMZ).

World Peace was initially slated to make the change on Aug. 26 but a Los Angeles court commissioner delayed ruling due to several outstanding traffic warrants. The schedule change forced the former All-Star and NBA defensive player of the year to postpone a celebratory BBQ. (No word yet if that’s back on for tonight.)

While other NBA stars continue to ponder playing overseas during the lockout, Artest has had little trouble keeping busy. From promoting mixtape releases to signing on for the upcoming season of “Dancing With the Stars”, he’s got plenty on his plate — some might say too much.

On Wednesday, Artest wondered aloud how he should respond to criticism that he’s not spending enough time focusing on his basketball career.

this guy came up to me and asked me why am i doing movies during the lockout. why dont u rest your body and get ready for the season.Wed Sep 14 21:11:23 via web

why did jr smith leave america to play in china? because the nba is not paying anyone right now and he has to feed his family.Wed Sep 14 21:12:11 via web

So I have a brilliant question media guy? When will the lockout end? Do you have any jobs that will pay me like the NBA or my movies?Wed Sep 14 21:13:59 via Twitter for iPhone

Any media that writes stories like that or people that think like that have a 1900's way of thinking!Wed Sep 14 21:15:40 via Twitter for iPhone

Question the guy’s dedication to his craft all you want, but it seems he’s finally found his own sense of “World Peace.”

And perhaps the BBQ is back on after all?

We love you chicken!!!!!Fri Sep 16 17:10:38 via Twitter for iPhone

By  |  01:20 PM ET, 09/16/2011

 
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