|Dennis "Tina Turner" Rodman|
Other guys have tried to be more whimsical about it. Middleweight boxer Marvin Hagler went to court to fight for the right to be called "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler. NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson ridiculously took on his uniform number as his last name, converting to Chad Ochocinco. The fact that he erroneously translated "eighty-five" into Spanish did not dissuade him one bit. This of course makes me wonder if there's some Portuguese soccer player running around with the name Juan Carlos Fourseven.
Artest isn't even the first NBA player to try to spread a political message on his drivers' license. Back in 1981, Lloyd Free changed his name to World B. Free.
Clever, huh? He didn't even have to do anything with his last name.
Here's my problem.
Ron Artest is just about the last guy on the planet (certainly in the NBA) to take up the mantle for world peace. If Gandhi chose to go by Mahatma World Peace, sure, I think we could all buy that. Even John Lennon would've had a bit of credibility if he recorded Imagine under the name John World Peace.
But Ron Artest? As I'm about to explain, Artest calling himself Metta World Peace is a lot like Charlie Sheen calling himself Drug Free McSoberman.
|"All we are saying . . . "|
But wait, there's more.
In 2007, Artest -- who had moved on to the Sacramento Kings -- was involved in a domestic incident and was charged with corporal injury to a spouse, battery, false imprisonment and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, all misdemeanors. He pleaded no contest.
While researching this piece, I spoke with at least three individuals who asked, "Hey, isn't Artest the guy who choked out his coach a few years back?" Actually, that was Latrell Sprewell (who has since changed his name to Butterfly Placid Tranquility), but the fact that three separate people connected Artest's name with the choking incident tells you all you need to know about the guy's reputation.
Doesn't exactly scream "World Peace," does it?
And here's another thing. There are a lot of completely normal and even, dare I say, admirable ways to support meaningful causes. Bumper stickers, for example. I don't see why Ron couldn't have just slapped a WORK FOR WORLD PEACE sticker on the back of his Lamborghini. Start a foundation, build a website, write a weekly column for War Haters Illustrated, whatever. No need to get all "I think I'll give myself a stupid name" about it. After all, Bob Barker has done a lot of great things in the arena of animal rights activism, but he never once asked to be called Puppy Spay Chihuahua.
As a Laker fan, I would like to suggest that Mr. World Peace spend less time worrying about his name and a bit more time on other issues.
Like his jump shot.
To view the video of "Malice at the Palace," click here.