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Metta World Peace changing name to The Pandas Friend

Aug 7, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

giant panda at chengdu, china giant panda at chengdu, china

Metta World Peace will be playing in China next season.

Actually, check that.

After teasing another name change on Twitter…

…World Peace – nee Ron Artest – has his new name.

China Daily (hat tip: Scott Rafferty of Hardwood Paroxysm):

New high-profile import playing for Chinese basketball Association club Sichuan Blue Whales is known as Ron Artest but intends to change his name to “Panda Friend” in honor of his move to China.

World Peace, who is known in China as “Ci Shiping”, a literal translation of “Metta World Peace,” now plans to name himself after China’s giant panda, a precious animal based in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, where his new team is also based.

Yes, The Pandas Friend sounds silly, but I think it’s important people have the right to be called what they want to be called. So, The Pandas Friend it is.

Considering he legally had his name changed to World Peace, I’m guessing he’ll do the same for The Pandas Friend.

I can’t wait to hear more about the adventures of Friend (not pictured) in China this season.

  1. nfl4days - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    I’m calling him Ron Artest.

    • maracineanu16 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Why not MoRon????

      • therealhtj - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        How about Motor Empty?

    • RavenzGunnerz - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      I blame Israel for this.

      • justanacehole - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:14 PM


    • ans2034 - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:22 PM


      It’s extremely hard to take him seriously with all this name changing nonsense.

      • 1historian - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:19 AM

        not exactly hard, but impossible

  2. beastroid - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    ever since the malice at the palace, hes been forever ingrained as Ron Artest haha

  3. asimonetti88 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    I love this guy! Panda Friend!

  4. bucrightoff - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Hopefully he goes with Fan Puncher as his next name.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      *Phan Puncher

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        It wasn’t in Philadelphia.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Doesn’t have to be. He’s going to China. Get it?

  5. karlton3 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Boy, that second ‘n’ is crucial.

  6. calkinsrob - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    HAHA!! I really want to know what his friends and family call him. probably still Ron right?

  7. azarkhan - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Apparently Hop Sing was already taken.

  8. upperdecker19 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    We are here to report the greatest event in the history of the world. The birth of a Panda Friend.

    Ron Burgundy

  9. bball242322 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    this is too funny. only Ron would think to name himself Panda Friend

  10. bballhistorian - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    LOL at the picture…

  11. dondada10 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    In 2002 I was coaching at Five Star in Honesdale, P.A. Artest was a former camper and he came up in the middle of the week to give a lecture. He spoke about academics, family values, and listening to your coaches. Instead of going home afterward he stayed and hung around with the kids. He went to games and sat on the team benches just offering advice and spending time with youngsters. To our surprise, when he went to dinner the horrible camp food had been replaced with pizza for everybody. It was, of course, courtesy of Artest. Ron Ron will always be cool with me.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      Great story! Sounds very Ron. Gotta love the guy.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      For all the flak MWP gets, he’s really only had legal issues twice. And the most recent of which was over 7 years ago. From the outside, it looks like he’s really learned and matured. Granted, domestic violence is an awful thing to be involved in, but like I said, it looks like he’s really turned a corner. The guy seems to be a good person at heart, but struggled with mental issues for a long time. He seems to have gotten those under control and he’s been able to channel it well!

      • stipez - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:27 PM

        Plus elbowing James Harden in the side of the head.

    • duhwighthoward - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      That is a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.

  12. chiadam - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Oh, Ron.

  13. elcapitanfiscal - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    I can already see him getting into an altercation with a panda bear later on..

  14. 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    You can do no wrong in my eyes, Ron Artest/Metta World Peace/Panda Friend!

    Best of luck in China!

  15. wisbadgfan - Aug 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    You can him Ray or you can him Jay

  16. kaspauf - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    I honestly thought ‘Panda Friend’ was a much cooler name than ‘The Pandas Friend’.

  17. klinickal - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    I am going to miss Metta World Peace as i thought that was such an inspiring name. Pandas Friend sounds too fruity for me…

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