Metta World Peace. That’s what Ron Artest would like to be known as now, and he’s filed the necessary paperwork to make the name change legal. So what’s the most volatile man in the NBA have to say about the name change? Let’s take a listen and find out. Artest joined 790 The Ticket in Miami to discuss why he and when he came about his name change, if his new name will be on his jersey next year, where the inspiration for the name change came from, his recent work helping parolees and prison inmates, the show that will highlight the time he’s spent working with rehabilitating convicts, and if there’s anyone that’s calling him ‘Metta’ yet.
On what he would like to be referred to as now by the hosts:
“Well it’s not mandatory. It’s whatever you know?”
On if both ‘World’ and ‘Peace’ will be included on his jersey:
“Well, when I changed it, the last name is all one word. WorldPeace is all one word. And then Metta is the first name. So when I changed it, a lot of peopole asked me what is the purpose. It wasn’t like trying to be Gandhi or anything like that.”
What his uniform and player card will read:
“Well I don’t really know how that works. When you change names with a business, you can’t say really what they’re going to use. It’s all one word, the last name WorldPeace is just one last name, one word.”
On where the inspiration for the name came from:
“It came from education, just trying to be aware of sports as education for kids. I travel a lot and do a lot of different things. I just came from the Orange County Jail, working with some inmates, helping with the parolees. When I’m on the road and doing different work like that, I always try to have something else to have for inspiration and talk to the kids about, or whether I’m talking to the inmates also. So it’s definitely an inspiration to some kids, and it definitely inspirational to the guys I’m trying to help rehabilitate.”
On what it’s like when he goes to prison:
“Well the show that we’re doing is called ‘Last Second Shot.’ We’re filming the parolees going through the process of rehabilitation, the life coaches, psychologists. But I give them my stories, my experiences of how I grew up, a lot of things are relatable and then guys start opening up to me in ways that they wouldn’t open up to the normal staff at the prison. It’s kind of cool that I’m able to get deep into the souls and be able to help the rehabilitation process. It was amazing. When people see the show they’re going to be pretty amazed.”
Is there anyone at all in his life that’s calling him Metta yet?
“It’s so funny. I’m Baptist, so one of my friends asked me was I five percent Nation, was I Buddhist. I’m like ‘man, I’m the same old dude, never changed, just a new vision, a new vision.’ I have a basketball team I work with, I teach offense and defense. So I say ‘on the count of three, let’s say offense – defense.’ They go, ‘no, let’s say World Peace.’ So on the count of three we said ‘World Peace’ which was kind of funny. But a lot of my friends, they call me and make a lot of jokes and make fun of me and stuff like that.”