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Metta World Peace has decided to change his name to 'The Panda's Friend'

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The Panda's Friend with David Beckham at the Kid's Choice Awards in 2014. (Getty Images)

Metta World Peace is moving beyond the whole "Metta World Peace" thing. Now that the former Ron Artest has moved on to China to play with the Sichuan Blue Whales, the ex-NBA Defensive Player of the Year has decided to change his name for the second time in three years.

From 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.

Now, whoa, oh, hey there … the former MWP wants to set things straight:

So there you have it. It’s a bit more formal and regal and altogether strange and wonderful. All perfectly in line with the same guy that signed up for a part-time job at the since-bankrupted Circuit City in 1999 so as to receive a 15 percent employee discount, weeks after signing a three-year, $2.9 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.

The Panda’s Friend probably isn’t the best fit for the NBL. That league wants star power, a fringe NBA player who can light up the scoreboard and use his athleticism to put up big numbers. It wants J.R. Smith, really, even if J.R. Smith doesn’t want the NBL. It needs Stephon Marbury.

As Dan Devine noted, The Panda’s Friend isn’t that player. His shooting touch has gone away, and his lack of foot speed left him a step slow even when guarding power forwards. TPF will be reduced to banging his way around lesser opponents, he’ll be that guy with the knee brace at the pickup game who sweats too much, and he’ll have to work for his points. It won’t be the sort of paid vacation that other NBA-types have enjoyed while putting up 30 a game.

That’s where our friend Ron Metta The is at right now. Somehow, we think he’ll enjoy it.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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