Metta World Peace Moves To China, Changes His Name To 'Panda Friend'

  • Jake O'Donnell

What, was “Dragon Lover” already taken? Seriously, could Ron Artest be pandering any more to the Chinese audience he will now be playing in front of?

He certainly couldn’t be pandaing any more that he currently appears to be! Huh? Anyone? Anyone? No? Ok, we’ll stop…

[China Daily] 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.

Aaaaand here’s further proof if you’re still pinching yourself:

Cheap marketing ploy or genuine friend of pandas — we don’t really care. It’s hilarious that there’s a millionaire out there with the gaul to change his name to absurd non-sequiturs on a regular basis. So we came up with 16 area-specific names NBA rookies can legally adopt if they want to endear themselves to their new homes…