Former NBA maverick Ron Artest stunned the world in 2011 when he legally changed his name to ‘Metta World Peace’. The name apparently, hasn’t satisfied his identity issues with him deciding to change it again; this time to ‘The Pandas Friend’.
At the time of his first name change Artest told bemused reporters ‘Metta’ comes from the Buddhist language, meaning friendship, love and kindness.
In 2014 Artest joined the Chinese basketball league, becoming a member of the Sichuan Blue Whales. The move has prompted this latest name change.
The move from a name with Tibetan undertones to one with a distinctive Chinese flavor is clearly winning him friends.
Earlier this week Artest Tweeted, “New Chinese name coming soon. You guys are going to love it!”
And the China Daily did; reporting on the demise of Metta World Peace and the rise of The Pandas Friend.
Many have taken to social media to mock The Pandas Friend for his latest ‘stunt’. The man himself takes it in stride.
Other notable, strange or outright bizarre name changes include:
Maria Sharapova attempting to change her name to Maria Sugarpova for the 2013 US Open. Unfortunately doing so would have caused travel document headaches preventing her entering the US.
Outspoken NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson assumed the name to Chad Ochocinco once he started earning the big money at the Cincinntati Bengals.
Geelong footballer star Gary Hocking incurred the ire of the AFL when, for round 12 in 1999, he changed his name to ‘Whiskas. The cat food maker paid the Geelong Cats football club $80,000 (and the Captain, Hocking, $20,000) for the stunt.
Snooker player Jimmy White became ‘Jimmy Brown’ when it was announced HP Sauce was the major sponsor of the series.