By Rahman J. Dukes
Is moonlighting rapper Ron Artest raising peace awareness by changing his name or looking to hype his floundering rap career. Yesterday the former NBA champion announced that he had filed paperwork to officially change his name to World Metta Peace.
"My understanding is 'Metta' will be his first name and 'World Peace' will be his last," spokesman John Black said. "Metta is an early Buddhist word, with various definitions along the lines of kindness or goodwill."
The Queensbridge baller who grew up with the likes of Nas and Mobb Deep in the housing complex is no stranger to controversy. After graduating from the borough's St. John's University college, years later Ron's NBA career took a major hit while playing for the Indiana Pacers when he stormed into the crowd and brutally beat a Detroit Pistons fan who had threw beer on him during a timeout. Ron later brought his antics similar to past NBA player Dennis Rodman to the world class champions Los Angeles Lakers, dying his hair with a myriad of vibrant colors at times but most notably, helping the ballclub win an NBA championship in the 2009-2010 season shouting out "QB" live on national television. This past season at the end of the Lake show NBA Playoffs run Ron-Ron went back to his bad boy ways when he clothes-lined tiny point guard JJ Barea at the end of one of the Mavs' stunning defeat against the Lakers, showing poor sportsmanship.
On a more positive side, Ron has always been a strong advocate of giving back to the community therefore a name change injecting peace would come as no surprise to anyone familar with the players personality. Last year following the Lakers championship win Artest went back to his Queensbridge stomping grounds where he threw a full barbecue for the housing development that included a performance from himself, Nas and music by Funkmaster Flex. Ron later raffled off his championship ring and just this year he received the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his efforts towards community service.
In the mixture of playing ball and giving back to the community Ron is also a rapper at heart. Earlier this year we caught up with Artest shortly after he dropped his Ball'n mixtape, in conjunction to his new sneaker line.
"I was like, 'Wow, we should have the mixtape come out with the shoe.' The shoe came out All-Star Weekend," Artest told Mixtape Daily. "A couple of weeks before that, we had the mixtape come out the same day as the shoe. So we was just having fun with the whole idea of music and basketball. You know athletes like to be rappers; I'm actually doing both, so it's cool."