Ron Artest Changes Name, Twitter Erupts

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Introducing Metta World Peace, or, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest. The story of Ron Artest is a long and winding one. A quick glance at a simple "Ron Artest" Google image search reveals as much. Some highlights include cracking the ribs of a certain basketball player during a recreational game. The player in question was a guy named Michael Jordan. You may have heard of him.

More famously, there's the "Malice in the Palace" incident against the Detroit Pistons, which, among many other residual effects, may have derailed a championship-caliber basketball team. Then there's the "retirement to produce records, er, about that" stuff. In fact, in order to properly document the travels of Ron, this particular article would be longer than a Bill Simmons retro diary.

Artest, to his credit, has repaired his image around following the Detroit incident, even befriending the fan who threw the cup that started the riot.

In fact, his turn around has been so complete, Artest was recently awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award from the NBA for his work with mental health awareness. Artest himself has also become a lovable character, especially for NBA fans, if, for nothing else, than his silly, yet, sometimes bizarre antics. With that in mind, perhaps the name change shouldn't come as a surprise, but then again, the name itself -- Metta World Peace -- is just too good to be true.

Obviously, the Twitter crowd feels the same, seeing how's the not one, but two Ron Artest-related trends on the Worldwide Trends list.

Ron Artest Trend

While there's still some shock concerning the "is he really going to do this" angle, Artest has already filed the paperwork to bring the change about:

Artest has informed the Lakers of his plans but has not yet filed paperwork with the NBA to apply for a name change on the back of his jersey, Lakers spokesman John Black said.

"My understanding is 'Metta' will be his first name and 'World Peace' will be his last," Black said.

Of course it will. The "metta" in "Metta World Peace" represents... well, here's Ron to tell you all about it:

Metta is a Pali word meaning loving-kindness. Metta chanting is the radiation of loving-kindness towards all beings:

Super dope!!! 7 hours ago via Echofon · powered by @socialditto

So there's that.

As for reaction from the Lakers management concerning Artest's name change, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak had perhaps the best response of them all:

We'll just ignore the fact that Artest's "Metta World Peace" name is similar to World B. Free. As indicated, Artest, a savvy social media user himself, became the talk of Twitter. Reaction varied from "you so crazy" to "for real?" to "we're being trolled," all of which probably have some merit:

Ever met a Metta? Now you have. Seriously Ron, WTF??... 1 hour ago via Facebook · powered by @socialditto

Ron Artest is changing his name to Metta World Peace. Best NBA name change since World B Free. 4 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Ron Artest is changing his name to Metta World Peace. Lakers fans are calling it the best name ever and taking credit for the change. 1 hour ago via web · powered by @socialditto

The "Ron Artest" trend had some gems as well:

Ron artest. Sit all the way down. 1 hour ago via SimplyTweet · powered by @socialditto

Dear Ron Artest, if you're still considering a name change, how about Ron Artest's Guide To Love? 2 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

I vote for that.

Apparently, Ron Artest felt he was falling behind in the race for America's Craziest Athlete. He's close to 1st now. 2 hours ago via Echofon · powered by @socialditto

Since it has become available, as of today I am changing my name to Ron Artest. #nba #insanity 3 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

#Lakers Ron Artest has filed to change his name to Metta World Peace. I say nothing. 3 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

It's probably best that way, Bonnie. Now, the last word on the matter:

Either Ron Artest needs a hug or he's a genius. I'm going with both #mettaworldpeace 32 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® · powered by @socialditto

As for Artest, er, World Peace, he's taking all the comments in stride. Having a peaceful outlook helps deal with Internet trolls, apparently:

So many opinions!!

I'll be on shortly giving reason for name!!

No need to ruffle your feathers . Relax confused people. Lol 1 hour ago via Echofon · powered by @socialditto

I'll say this for the name change, which some feel is an attention-whore move: At least his new name doesn't stand for his jersey number, right Chad Johnson? Is Artest/World Peace having a good time with the attention the announcement caused? Answering a question with a question perhaps, but, wouldn't you?