No name change for Artest just yet
LOS ANGELES – World Peace is on hold, at least for a few more weeks.
Artest was not able to officially change his name to Metta World Peace on Friday as planned because he first has to clear outstanding traffic warrants, a court official told reporters in L.A. Artest’s next court date is set for Sept. 16.
Artest had been looking forward to announcing the official change.
“You can call me Ron today and then it’s over. It’s a wrap,” Artest said Thursday afternoon. “It’s about love, world peace. Everybody can relate to that, whether it’s in the same community or the same state or the same country or whether it’s a country going to war.
“It’s about world peace. You know what I mean? The kids need to know that, and they know that now.”
[Photos: See more of Lakers star Ron Artest]
Along with his name change, Artest also said he hopes to switch his jersey number to 70 next season. He currently wears No. 15 for the Lakers, and this won’t be his first number change. During his time with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Lakers, he has also worn No. 23 to honor Michael Jordan, No. 91 to honor Dennis Rodman, Nos. 93 and 96 to honor his hometown of Queens, N.Y., and No. 37 to honor Michael Jackson. Artest’s goal is to wear 10 numbers before the end of his career.
“I’m changing it to 70 because it’s like something to do with the universe,” Artest said. “Everything kind of repeats itself. The universe is one. It’s the same thing. Healthy minds, just keeping the kids positive.”
Artest said he remains interested in playing for the Cheshire Jets of the Britain Basketball League, but won’t make an official decision until after Nov. 22, provided the lockout hasn’t ended. Artest’s agent recently told the Los Angeles Times that the Jets have yet to offer Artest insurance to play.
“I’m definitely going if I’m not playing [in the NBA],” Artest said. “…It’s pro basketball. It’s going to be fun. Small gym – I want to go somewhere nice and small. I’ve had other opportunities to make more money in other places, but I want to play in a small area.”
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