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Ron Artest and 7 other Name Changes in Sports: Rated!

Really, Ron?
by Gelo Gonzales | Jun 30, 2011
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If you’re one to check out NBA websites even in the off season, then you sir are a true fan of the league.[firstpara] And so, chances are your loyalty has also been rewarded with this little gem of a news item: Ron Artest is petitioning to change his name to Metta World Peace.

The Lakers forward has always been a character: a talented basketball player who has had way more than his fair share of on-court troubles before he eventually became a champion with the LA Lakers in 2010.


Case in point: he was kind of a central figure in that little brawl that happened in a matchup between Artest’s Pacers and the Pistons in 2004.

To be fair, the man has changed his ways, going so far as to donate his championship ring for the purpose of charity.

Still, Ron, if not for his inconsistent performances, gets in the news for the kooky stuff that he does from time to time. And his plan to change his name to something far, far less traditional is the latest evidence that Ron isn’t done yet.

Now, we ain’t going to judge Ron. Partly because it’s hard to hate on a man who seems to have been able to correct most of his transgressions in the past, and mostly because it would be funny to know that someone has a name that’s so New Age in its being far out. It’s not the smoothest move he’s made, but if it makes him happy, then go for it, we say.

Below we have 8 more sports figures that have changed their names. These, we judge to the best of our abilities!

Bobby Moore becomes Ahmad Rashad
Who he is: Former professional football player turned sportscaster. Needs no introduction for those who watch NBA shows.
Reason for name change: Conversion to Islam.
Totally arbitrary score: 8/10. Ahmad Rashad has more personality than the totally pedestrian sounding Bobby Moore. It’s catchier, which could be a huge factor to his current longevity in the sports casting industry.  

Cassius Clay becomes Muhammad Ali
Who he is: Some boxer who is sometimes called “The Greatest”
Reason for name change: Conversion to Islam.
Totally arbitrary score: 6/10. Cassius Clay has a wee bit more swagger to it.

Chris Jackson becomes Mahmoud Abdul Rauf
Who he is: Former NBA point guard from the 90s who now plays in a Japanese professional league.
Reason for name change: Conversion to Islam. Yep, it’s one of the more popular reasons.
Totally arbitrary score: 9/10. Though hard to pronounce, the name change ensured that he didn’t have anyone sharing his name with, unlike the ultra-common “Chris Jackson.”

Brian Williams becomes Bison Dele
Who he is: Former NBA center who was presumed dead in 2002.
Reason for name change: Wanted to honor his Native American and African roots
Totally arbitrary score: 10/10. As an NBA center, being named after a powerful beast is more intimidating than simply “Brian Williams.”  

Lloyd Bernard Free becomes World B. Free
Who he is: A former NBA star that had a pretty solid 13-year career and a 44-inch vertical leap in his prime.
Reason for name change: The “B” and the “Free” has always been in his name. “World” became his nickname because of his 360-degrees dunks. He simply made it official in 1981, because he realized how awesome World B. Free sounded.
Totally arbitrary score: 10/10. It’s the ultimate hippie name.

Marvin Haggler becomes Marvelous Marvin Haggler
Who he is: Former middleweight boxing champ
Reason for name change: Hagler felt like the commentators weren’t mentioning his “Marvelous” nickname enough. His solution: make his nickname a part of his legal name.
Totally arbitrary score: 8/10. We’ve learned to respect men who’s aware that crazy solutions sometimes work.  

Lew Alcindor becomes Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Who he is: A really tall dude who we heard was once a really popular NBA player, and casually became the league’s leading scorer of all time with the use of something called “The Sky Hook.”
Reason for name change: You guessed it, he converted to Islam.
Totally arbitrary score: 11/10. Without him, Filipinos wouldn’t have been able to coin the term “jina-jabar.” “Ina-alcindor” just wouldn’t have worked.  



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WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES
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