Ron Artest is a fine name. But what does that name really mean? Is there a message I can grab from those two words? When I hear the name "Ron Artest", do I leave richer for the experience? No. No sir, I do NOT. But a name like Metta World Peace? That's a message.
About a month ago, Lakers forward Ron Artest decided to change his name to Metta World Peace, petitioning the Los Angeles Municipal Court with the proper paperwork. Hopefully Metta himself did not fill out the forms.
This is not a post to debate the merits or disadvantages of such an action; it's stupid. There, argument settled. But this did get me thinking that this little stunt of Mr. World Peace is just one in a long line of illustriously madcap ideas that he's had. In fact, if I were to make a list of all the ridiculous things he's done over the past 10 years, I'm not sure that changing his name to Metta World Peace (by the way, is his last name Peace? Or is it World Peace? And can you imagine Marv Albert calling a Lakers game next year? "And World Peace, from the corner...YES! METTA WORLD PEACE, WITH...THE....DAGGER!") would even stand out. Well, you be the judge. Presenting the Life and Times of Metta World Peace.
June to September, 2000: Metta applies for a job at a Chicago Circuit City, primarily so he could take advantage of the store's employee discount. Under references, he used Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Krause. As for his previous work experience, he wrote "NBA Player".
June to September, 2001: World Peace guards his idol and former Chicago Bull Michael Jordan. Metta plays with such tenacity and intensity, that he in fact breaks two of Michael's ribs in the process. In a summer pick-up game.
February 23rd, 2004: Out for a month due to thumb surgery, World Peace shows up at an Indiana Pacers practice wearing a bathrobe over his practice gear. He says that the robe was a reminder to "take it easy" following surgery.
November 11th, 2004: World Peace reportedly gets suspended by then Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle for asking for a month off to recuperate from "exhaustion". "Exhaustion" from promoting a new R&B record he produced. World Peace and Carlisle later said that it was all a misunderstanding and though World Peace did ask for time off, he "said it the wrong way".
November 9th, 2004: World Peace, along with Ben Wallace, triggers a brawl that would eventually involve the entire Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and patrons of the Palace at Auburn Hills. Maybe you've heard of this. I hope it's on youtube.
November, 2005: World Peace shaves "Tru Warier" into the back of his head, as promotion for his record label. David Stern was excited at the notion, saying how happy he was that his players were such enterprising young men.
December 12th, 2005: After missing 86 games (including the playoffs) with Indiana the previous season due to suspension, World Peace constantly claims how happy he is to finally be returning to the Pacers for the 2005-2006 season. He asked for a trade just a month later.
July 9th, 2006: With the Sacramento Kings, World Peace jokingly threatens to kill teammate Bonzi Wells if he did not resign with the Kings that summer. Wells somehow lived to sign with the Houston Rockets instead.
June 17th, 2008: After the Lakers lost the deciding game 6 to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 Finals, World Peace, fully dressed, walked into the Lakers' shower room after the loss. He then proceeded to tell a naked, pissed-off and wet Kobe Bryant that he'd love to sign with LA one day and help Kobe win a championship. To this day, Kobe maintains that he has no idea how World Peace got into the locker room.
On a sidenote, where did you originally think that last hyperlink was going to?
July 31st, 2008: After his trade from the Sacramento Kings to the Houston Rockets, center Yao Ming jokingly comments that "hopefully he's [Metta} not fighting anymore and going after a guy in the stands." In response, Artest said, "This is Tracy (McGrady) and Yao's team, you know. I'm not going to take it personal. I understand what Yao said, but I'm still ghetto. That's not going to change. I'm never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don't think he's ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture." I agree. Why would you change after you lose $7 million dollars in pay from being suspended for 86 games?
May 7th, 2009: After a particularly testy playoff game with the Los Angeles Lakers in which he was ejected from a confrontation with Kobe, World Peace admitted that this wasn't the first time he'd ever been in a very competitive game: "I remember when I used to play back home in the neighborhood there were always games like that. I remember one time, one of my friends, he was playing basketball and they were winning the game. It was so competitive, they broke off a piece of leg from a table and they threw it and it went right through his heart and he died right on the court. So I'm accustomed to playing basketball real rough"
July 8th, 2009: After signing a long-term contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, World Peace once again changes his number, this time to number 37. Why? Because that's the number of weeks recently deceased pop-star Michael Jackson's album Thriller was at number 1 on the Billboard charts. Couldn't make this up if I tried.
November 23rd, 2009: As a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, World Peace shows up wearing nothing but his boxers, saying "I was running late".
December 3rd, 2009: World Peace admits that during his time with the Chicago Bulls earlier in the decade, he used to drink Hennessey at halftime. Halftimes of games. Real, league games. No big deal.
December 5th, 2009: World Peace clarifies earlier statements that he'd love to fight Pistons center Ben Wallace again. He says that yes, he still does want to fight Wallace, but in a boxing ring rather than a street or the court. He thinks that it'd be a good boxing match. Of course.
March 7th, 2010: World Peace dyes his hair blonde, and had the word "defense" in Hebrew, Japanese and Hindi cut into purple letters. That night World Peace's primary defensive assignment, Vince Carter, went off for 25 points as the Lakers lost to Orlando. The haircut was gone soon after that.
June 17th, 2010: During his post-game interview with Doris Burke, World Peace, delirious with winning his first championship, thanks his psychiatrist and plugs his new single all at the same time. Man don't waste time, I know that.
September 8th, 2010: World Peace gets pulled over after driving an drag race car down a city street. He got pulled over not for speeding, but rather, that his registration was expired.
December 2nd, 2010: World Peace calls into a Houston sports talk radio station, claiming to be Luis Scola. He goes on to detail how Chuck Hayes came to practice that day ("He had no boxers on tonight, no Spandex — he play freeballing"), as well as saying he'd celebrate the win by "eating Spanish food later". Despite the fact that Scola is from Argentina.
February 2011: World Peace invites a select group of fans to come and play touch football with him on the beach via Twitter. They are somewhat surprised when Metta actually shows up. I'm just surprised he showed up wearing pants.
April 26th, 2011: Metta wins the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award given to the player, coach or trainer that shows outstanding dedication and service to the community. He was given this award largely based on his efforts towards raising money and awareness towards mental health issues in this country. Metta World Peace might be crazy - but at least now he's constructively crazy.