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Sat Apr 19 21:37:19 SAST 2014

Anyone want a piece of Mr World Peace?

Reuters | 20 September, 2011 07:130 Comments
Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball player Ron Artest arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, in this August 28, 2011 file photo. A Los Angeles Country superior court commissioner legally changed Artest's name to "Metta World Peace" in a ruling September 16, 2011
Image by: Danny Moloshok / REUTERS

The Los Angeles Lakers star formerly known as Ron Artest has officially become Metta World Peace, after a Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner approved the name change.

World Peace, who will spend his off-season competing on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," was granted the change just in time for the show's season premiere on Monday night after clearing up lingering traffic ticket warrants.

"Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world," World Peace said in a written statement.

A publicist for World Peace, Courtney Barnes, said the name change would require the Lakers defender to obtain a new driver's license, passport and other official documents but would not affect his contract with the team.

The former Ronald William Artest, 31, will sport the new name on the back of his Lakers jersey starting next season.

"World Peace has contemplated the name change for years and always knew that he wanted his last name to be World Peace but it took many years of research and soul-searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational," Barnes said.

"Metta World Peace felt just right."

World Peace is considered one of the NBA's premiere defenders and was named Defensive Player of the Year for the 2003-2004 season.

In November of 2004 he was given a lengthy suspension after taking part in a brawl between fans and players during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

He joined the Lakers in 2009 and helped lead the franchise to a championship.

World Peace will be paired with dance professional Peta Murgatroyd on this season's "Dancing With the Stars", competing alongside a cast that includes actor David Arquette, transgender activist Chaz Bono, journalist Nancy Grace and reality TV star Kristin Cavallari.

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Anyone want a piece of Mr World Peace?

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