No, not from The Onion… In 2011, Ron Artest of the L.A. Lakers officially changed his name to “Metta World Peace.” Saith Wikipedia: “‘Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world,’ World Peace said in a statement released after the name change court hearing. His publicist, Courtney Barnes, said that World Peace chose Metta as his first name because it is a traditional Buddhist word that means loving kindness and friendliness towards all.” It was a move one-part publicity stunt, one part atonement for his history of brawling with payers and fans alike. With the history of name-changes in the Bible: Naomi to Mara and back to Naomi, Jacob to Israel, etc., perhaps even our best efforts at re-imagining our own identity without grace and honesty at the core lead to frustration and, like World Peace, both ejection and rejection (evident in the video link below). From the AP via the Miami Herald:
LOS ANGELES – Metta World Peace was subdued and contrite in the Los Angeles Lakers’ locker room Sunday night, apologizing to Oklahoma City’s James Harden for throwing the elbow that left Harden with a concussion and caused him to be ejected in the second quarter.
On Monday, the NBA said any punishment against World Peace will be issued by Thursday. He could face as much as a five game suspension and miss play-off games.
In a game where Kobe Bryant scored six of his 26 points in the second overtime alongside an unorthodox Lakers lineup, and Los Angeles rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half for a 114-106 victory over the Thunder on Sunday, the World Peace incident overshadowed the Lakes’ comeback…
The incident occurred just as World Peace had just dunked over Durant and Serge Ibaka on a fast break and was headed back up court when he ran into Harden. While pounding his chest with his right arm, World Peace raised his left elbow over Harden’s shoulder and cleanly hit Harden in the back of the head and neck.
Harden dropped to the court and stayed down for about a minute before heading to the locker room. Ibaka and other Thunder players challenged World Peace, but were kept apart, and World Peace was ejected after officials reviewed the tape. At first, Harden was said to be OK, but later Sunday he was diagnosed with a concussion.
“I got real emotional and excited, and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with the unintentional elbow,” said World Peace, who had scored 12 points and played solid defense on Durant. “I hope he’s OK. Oklahoma, they’re playing for a championship this year. I apologize to the Thunder and James Harden. It was just unfortunate.”
Because of his past, were he has struck other players and fought with fans, World Peace likely faces more than the typical one-game suspension for the elbowing.
Reader be warned: it’s a doozie of an elbow…