Metta World Peace Plans to Change His Name to “Panda Friend”
The artist formerly known as Ron Artest is an altogether different kinda cat. We know this. If you're not already following Metta — er, Panda — on Twitter, you're doing Twitter wrong. The man literally quits Twitter every few hours, then tweets incessantly for the next five days. His latest gem was this, which at first most people thought was a joke:
It was not a joke. From China Daily:
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.
Apparently excited by his China trip, the "Panda Friend" tweeted he would be visiting the pandas with his daughter, while also adding that he would be changing his name in honor of his move.
The news of Artest's joining CBA was at the same time closely followed by Chinese web users as 8,960,000 entries for "Metta World Peace signs with CBA" were recorded on Baidu.com.
The news also went viral on China's social media as the topic "World Peace signs with CBA" got 25.75 million hits on Sina Weibo and an official account called "Metta_World_Peace", credited as "NBA star, serves for New York Nicks" by SinaWeibo, were followed by 967,204 followers.
Mr. Panda is the Chinese Basketball Association's highest-paid import player, having signed a $1.43 million deal for one season with the Sichuan Blue Whales. Other names you might recognize that have gone over to China to play are Stephon Marbury and Tracy McGrady.
Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace aka Panda Friend. The man knows cool.