Many people define world peace as an ideal. One player in the National Basketball Association is attempting to promote world peace each time he is on the court. How is he doing this? Is it for real?
The Los Angeles Lakers basketball player, formerly known as Ron Artest, changed his name to Metta World Peace. His surname, World Peace, is easy to understand. It means world peace. But his first name, Metta, may draw a question mark. Metta derives from the Buddhist term meaning loving kindness and friendliness toward others.
When I first saw the Lakers roster for the 2011-2012 season, I thought there had been a glitch on the website, with a player name written as “Metta World Peace.” It looked baffling to say the least. Was it actually a players name? After clicking through, seeing a picture of Ron Artest, and investigating further, I learned his player name and name change are indeed legitimate.
In fact, the official name change occurred back in September of this year. While not necessarily breaking news, it was only this week, when the postponed NBA season finally started, that Artest as Metta World Peace made his debut on the court. This is uncanny timing for the debut, especially hearing the holiday lyrics of “peace on earth, good will towards men.”
There was also question whether folks would refer to him as Peace or World Peace. Sure enough, number 15 on the Lakers had World Peace written on the back of his jersey. Imagine each time the basketball player formerly known as Artest makes a 3-pointer, an announcer would say something like, “World Peace for three, SCORE!”
This is not the first time World Peace has used his celebrity towards advocating a cause. He teamed with PETA in an ad promoting animal birth control, “Have the balls to spay and neuter your dog.” World Peace has also spoken out about mental health issues He auctioned his 2010 world championship ring with the proceeds going to mental health charities.
So what do you think? Is it appropriate for a famous person to use his/her celebrity for a cause? Will Ron Artest’s name change to Metta World Peace do something for world peace? Or is this attempt at advocacy actually diluting world peace? Is this marketing world peace or World Peace [sic]?