Ron Artest was not the first NBA star to change his name. A number of his predecessors, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, World B. Free and Bison Dele did so. But as of Monday, he may be the first NBA player ever to change his name twice.
Artest originally changed his name to Metta World Peace during the 2011 offseason. The reasoning he gave Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times in the moment was brilliant: "I changed my name because I got tired of Ron Artest, he's a [expletive]," World Peace said. "And when fans get mad at me, they can't say, 'I hate World Peace.'" Metta is a Buddhist term meaning "loving kindness," and he will be keeping that as his first name. It is his last name that he has changed, as he revealed on "Inside the Green Room with Danny Green."
"My name now is 'Metta [inaudible] Ford-Artest," he said, as transcribed by Silver Screen and Roll. "I actually took my wife's last and added it to mine." The former World Peace is married to Maya Ford. He did not take the name of his first wife, Kimsha Hatfield.
Artest has not played in the NBA since the 2016-17 season. He played abroad in China in 2014, and while rumors swirled that he had changed his name to "Panda Friend" at the time, this is the first official change since he took on "Metta World Peace" as his legal name in 2011.