One thought ahead. Three sentences behind.


Last week in Los Angeles County Superior court, Laker forward Ron Artest officially changed his name to Metta World Peace.

World peace is something we all wish for if we are trying to win a beauty pageant. But did you know metta in the Buddhist tradition means loving kindness towards others who have no interest dunking a basketball.

World Peace joins a long list of athletes who changed their names for religious or philosophical reasons.  There is Muhammad Ali who once went by Cassius Clay.  Kareem Abdul-Jaabar entered the NBA as Lew Alcindor.  Even Larry Bird was born with a less than charismatic name – Stanley Toad.

The reason Artest picked his new name was “… to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational.”

The problem is the new name does not fit his profession.  Artest made a name for himself in the NBA for his aggressive defensive skills that shut down the other team’s best scorer.  It also caused him to foul out of games, accrue fines and instigate fights, one which led to a brawl in 2004 where Artest not only fought with multiple members of the Detroit Pistons, he also moved into the stands to finish a fan’s soda.

Maybe World Peace wants to make a clean break from his infamous past and he saw a way with a name change.  It may be an astute move.  I did notice his former last name is one letter from being “arrest.” It probably didn’t help that he also had “Infraction” for a middle name.

If World Peace is looking to defang a prior name, I think there is another person who should rethink his.  I’m talking about a man with the most masculine, testosterone-filled name in all of television: CNN journalist, Wolf Blitzer.

Blitzer’s name doesn’t fit his physical makeup.  He doesn’t look like he can run down a mule deer or sack a NFL quarterback.  He doesn’t even look like he could beat up anybody in the CNN family now that Larry King has retired.  He has a great name but he needs to back it up or change it.  If he’s looking for suggestions, I have one: “This is The Situation Room with Koala Throw Pillow.”


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