Metta World Peace, the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest, may be changing his name once again — hopefully to something less ridiculous, right?
No such luck. Reportedly, the former Los Angeles Lakers player will be changing his name to Panda Friend in honor of his upcoming move to China’s Sichuan province.
For the upcoming season, World Peace will be moving to China to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales basketball team. He’s been going as Ci Siping in China so far, the literal translation of Metta World Peace, but he apparently wanted a name to reflect the culture, and most famous animal, of his new home.
He teased the change on Twitter and Chinese social media site Weibo, saying “I’m changing my name for the China this season !!!! You guys will love it.”
His supposed name change to Panda Friend was first reported by China Daily, but the basketball star has yet to confirm the news himself yet. We here at First to Know desperately hope the news is real, if only so we can see commentators try to keep a straight face while saying, “That’s the fifth and final foul of the game for Panda Friend, who is on something of a violent streak tonight.”
We can hardly see what he changes his name to next. Our bet is on “Harmonious Sweetheart.”