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NBA Baller and Rapper Ron Artest Will Change Name

Noel Vasquez, Getty Images

NBA star and aspiring MC Ron Artest has announced that he intends to change his name.

According to a spokesman for the L.A. Lakers, the 31-year-old forward has filed official paperwork to change his name to Metta World Peace. “My understanding is ‘Metta’ will be his first name and ‘World Peace’ will be his last,” Lakers spokesman John Black revealed. “Metta is an early Buddhist word, with various definitions along the lines of kindness or goodwill.”

Though the NBA star, who helped steer the Lakers to an NBA championship in 2010, has yet to explain his reasoning for the switch, his former publicist Heidi Buech has confirmed that Artist has filed a petition with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing “personal reasons.”

Artest is not the first athlete to change his name — former NBA player Lloyd Bernard Free legally changed his name to World B. Free in 1981, while NFL star Chad Johnson legally switched out his surname to Ochocinco in 2008.

The Queensbridge-born baller, who grew up around Nas and Mobb Deep, is not the first NBA star to attempt a rap career either — Shaq, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant have all tried their hand at MCing, with varied degrees of success. To that end, Artest dropped his first DJ Felli Fell-hosted mixtape, ‘Ball’n,’ back in February, featuring hip-hop luminaries Nas, Bun B, Chamillionaire, Gucci Mane, Paul Wall and others.

Artest is due in court on August 26 for a hearing on his name change application.

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