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We have World Peace: Ron Artest gets name change

The former Ron Artest's ballyhooed switch to Metta World Peace is approved during a brief court session. The Lakers star skips the hearing because of a 'jam-packed schedule' for 'Dancing With the Stars.'

September 16, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • Lakers' Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace on Sept. 17.
Lakers' Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace on Sept. 17. (Matt Sayles / Associated…)

The most ballyhooed name change of the year became official Friday morning when a Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner approved the former Ron Artest's request to become Metta World Peace.

Amid labor discord that threatens to delay, if not wipe out, the NBA season, there is World Peace.

Photos: Famous name-changers

He is 6 feet 7, wears No. 15 for the Lakers and once participated in the infamous "Palace brawl."

Anyone now making his acquaintance will be meeting Metta World Peace. Those on a first-name basis can call him Metta, while those a little further removed can buy jerseys with his last name of World Peace stretched across the back.

The most ballyhooed name change of the year became official Friday morning when a Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner approved the former Ron Artest's request.

World Peace was expected to attend the hearing, but about an hour after the court doors opened, his attorney, Nahla Rajan, announced that the Lakers forward was not coming. A few minutes later, Commissioner Matthew C. St. George approved the name change in a hearing that lasted about 30 seconds.

St. George: "Mr. Artest has requested a name change to Metta World Peace?"

Rajan: "Yes, your honor."

St. George: "And it's for personal reasons, he said?"

Rajan: "Yes, your honor."

St. George: "OK. All right. He'll now be known as Metta World Peace. Thank you."

World Peace's publicist, Courtney Barnes, said his client had been contemplating the switch for years, "but it took many years of research and soul-searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational." Metta is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness and friendliness toward others.

"Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world," World Peace said in a statement. "I'm glad that it is now official."

World Peace had hoped to adopt his new moniker last month but was rebuffed because of an outstanding traffic ticket. He was cited for driving without a license and faced an additional charge after missing a court date, Rajan said.

Ticket paid, World Peace can now reign.

And it may be spreading fast. Barnes confirmed reports that World Peace's 8-year-old daughter, Diamond, wants to adopt her father's new surname.

"They wanted to wait until this was fully done before" starting the process, Barnes said.

Rajan said changing the name of a child requires the consent of both parents.

World Peace must now obtain a new driver's license and passport. Barnes said his client would more fully explain his name change Monday when he appears on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

Though World Peace was not required to attend Friday's hearing, Barnes said his client was on his way a few minutes before the court session was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Artest's name was listed first on the docket.

When World Peace had not arrived by 9:30, St. George told others waiting to have their names changed that he would hear their cases first. Shortly thereafter, Rajan said her client was not coming.

Asked why World Peace had not come, Barnes said, "He's got a jam-packed schedule based on 'Dancing With the Stars.'"

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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