10:06am PT by THR staff
How Metta World Peace Will Play a Role on VH1
Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday to legally change his name to Metta World Peace. The move comes just a few days after it was announced that Artest's wife Kimsha has been cast in VH1's Basketball Wives: Los Angeles.
The show premieres Aug. 29 and will likely be one of the first programs to showcase Artest's name change, as the NBA season doesn't start until the fall and the Basketball Wives franchise also features the cast's husbands/significant others.
Artest cites "personal reasons" for the name change, which Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told ESPN "brought a smile" to his face. Asked whether Artest's jersey will say "Peace" or "World Peace," the GM replied, "I'm an advocate of World Peace."
Other famous athletes that have changed their names include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (formerly Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor), Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) and the NFL's Chad Ochocinco (formerly Chad Johnson).
Basketball Wives: Los Angeles features Lakers and other area teams' girlfriends and wives. In addition to Mrs. Artest, the cast includes Gloria Govan (fiancée of Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Lakers), Laura Govan (sister of Gloria Govan) and Jackie Christie (wife of Doug Christie, former player for the Los Angeles Clippers) and Imani Showalter (ex-fiance of Stephen Jackson, Charlotte Bobcats) as well as others.
Artest is also working on a reality show called Last Second Shot in which he talks to prisoners and parolees about changing their lives. Artest will film the show this summer, notes the Los Angeles Times.