by Paul Knepper
Ron Artest has reportedly filed court documents to change his name to “Metta World Peace.” The enigmatic Lakers forward is just the latest in a long line of ballplayers who have officially or unofficially adopted a new name for any number of reasons.
The first person to come to mind after hearing about Artest is naturally World B. Free. The former NBA sharpshooter was born Lloyd Bernard Free, but in December of 1981 decided to officially incorporate his nickname “All World” into his name.
Former Dolphins wide receiver Mark Duper and boxer Marvin Hagler are two other athletes who legally adopted their nicknames, becoming Mark Super Duper and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Two New York pitchers, Boof Bonser of the Mets (originally named John) and the Yankees Joba Chamberlain (originally Justin) officially replaced their given first names with their nicknames.
Of course, there’s an endless list of athletes known exclusively by their nicknames, though they haven’t legally changed their name, from superstars like George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Vincent “Bo” Jackson, Eldrick “Tiger” Woods and Lawrence “Yogi” Berra to role players like A’s center fielder Covelli “Coco” Crisp, former slam dunk champion Anthony “Spud” Webb and his teammate with the Atlanta Hawks, Wayne “Tree” Rollins.
Julius Erving, known primarily as Dr. J, has the greatest nickname lineage of any athlete. Celtics coach Glenn Rivers’ friends called him “Doc” when he was a kid because Erving was his favorite player, and the name stuck. Legendary hip-hop rapper/producer Andre Young took the stage name Dr. Dre because he too idolized the original high flyer. It’s hard to imagine that former Mets phenom Dwight Gooden would have been called “Dr. K” had there not been a Dr. J first.
Brazilian soccer players are often referred to by one-name nickname, the most obvious example being Edison Arantes de Nascimento, commonly known as Pele. There’s star midfielder “Kaka,” (real name Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite), the great scorer “Ronaldo” (real name Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima) and two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho (real name Ronaldo de Assis Moreira.) Brazilian basketball player Maybyner “Nene” Hilario followed his fellow countrymen and dropped his last name, legally changing his name to just Nene.
Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was the first prominent Muslim athlete to change his name for religious reasons when he joined the Nation of Islam in 1964. Seven years later, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., known as Lew Alcindor, announced that would be known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar going forward. Former Vikings running back Bobby Moore became Ahmad Rashad and one-time LSU standout and one-time Denver Nuggets guard Chris Jackson adopted the name Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
UCLA running back Sharmon Shah changed his named to Karim Abdul-Jabbar while in college. Two years later he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and in 1998 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sued Karim for profiting off of his likeness. Kareem pointed out that in addition to the name, Karim also went to UCLA and wore the same number 33. The court ordered the football player to remove the Abdul-Jabbar from the back of his jersey, at which point he changed his name again to Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar.
A couple of athletes have changed their names in order to avoid confusion. Prior to the 2002 draft, Duke standout poitn guard Jason Williams said he wanted to be known as Jay, to avoid being confused with then Grizzlies point guard Jason Williams and former Net Jayson Williams, who was facing manslaughter charges at the time. Angels pitcher Ervin Santana changed his name from Johan to Ervin in the minor leagues so as to avoid being confused with then Twins ace Johan Santana. According to Santana, “I just came up with Ervin… Ervin Santana, that sounds good.”
Some athletes have changed their names in search of a fresh start (like Puff Daddy becoming P. Diddy after his acquittal on gun possession and bribery charges. He’s since dropped the P. and is just Diddy and his given name is Sean Combs, but rap names are a whole other article.) Albert Jojuan Belle was known as Joey growing up and began going by Albert after a stint in rehab. Looking for a “fresh start” San Francisco Defensive back William James Peterson Jr. dropped the Peterson Jr. from his name when he signed with the Eagles in 2006.
During his college career at UCLA, running back Maurice Drew changed his last name to Jones-Drew in honor of his grandfather who had recently passed away. The late center originally named Brian Williams legally adopted the name Bison Dele while playing for the Detroit Pistons, in honor of his Native American and African ancestry.
Some name changes just didn’t stick. Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson changed his last name to his self-proclaimed nickname, Ochocinco, in August 2008, for no discernible reason other than self-promotion. This past January Chad said he would be changing his last name back to Johnson. In 1993, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Michael Jackson changed his name to Michael Dyson, only to change it back after the first game of the season.
Former female tennis player Renee Richards was born Richard Raskind and it took a lawsuit to enable her to play on the women’s tour after undergoing a sex change. The New York City basketball player known as Shammgod Wells couldn’t afford the cost of changing his name when he enrolled at Providence College and was forced to use his given name God Shammgod.
Midway through his hall of fame basketball career, Nigerian center Akeem Olajuwan added an H to the front of his first name. Speaking of African born basketball players, I believe every athlete who changes his or her name in the future should consider a Congolese name. No country produces better names than the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
There’s Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, commonly known as just Dikembe Mutombo, Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka and new Bobcats forward, the 7th pick in last night’s draft, Bismack Biyombo. Neighboring Cameroon may give the Congo a run for its money with Bucks forward “Prince” Luc Richard MBah a Moute and one time Portland Trailblazer Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje.
38 thoughts on “Artest Just the Latest Athlete to Change His Name”
Valuable info. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident, and I’m surprised why this accident did not took
place in advance! I bookmarked it.
I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!
Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.
tutwurilogo – Data-data shows that education activities
in Indonesia experienced a variety of striking growth between rural and urban areas.
Although most people consider education jobs to be
associated with teaching only in schools or in colleges, there are
a number of education opportunities that involve working with gifted children as well as teaching adults, while some education jobs called for professional roles and specific
areas of proficiency. Every year we weigh in on the quality of charter laws in each of the states.
Today number of worldwide accepted colleges and universities offers all variety
of medical assistant classes and medical training for those interested in the assistance field.
11 financial year, the maximum amount you can claim is $794 of expenses
for primary school children, receiving a maximum refund of $397.
All the universities attending the event primarily have only one intention and that is
to find a place for the students in their institutions.
Since more companies are expanding globally, employees
with international studying and working experiences are preferred and appreciated.
These discontinuities make it complicated to apply early learning standards in efficient ways.
Although, there has been controversy regarding the safety of
brezst implants in the past, bokth the saline and silicone
versions undergo constant scrutiny and improvement.
Folks belonging to this age believe in obtaining an excellent thoughts at the same time as beneficial physical appearance.
Plastic surgeons may not always be in favor off perfoorming certain cosmetic procedures on teenagers and young adults, but there is a growing demand forr cosmetic suurgery among this age group.
Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?
I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your design seems different
then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!
Now i am really prompted together with your writing skills together with with all the file format on your own website. Is this fact your given topic or maybe does one change the idea your self? At any rate stay inside the superb good quality producing, it truly is uncommon to peer an incredible site exactly like it currently.
Hi there, Tidy post. You will find a challenge with your blog inside internet traveler, could test out this kind of? Firefox nevertheless may be the market primary in addition to a large component of individuals will take out your own fantastic crafting for this challenge.
I’m curious to find out what blog system you’re working with?
I’m having some small security issues with my latest website and I’d like to find something more safeguarded.
Do you have any solutions?
A study conducted by Optifast has shown that a pound of fat is equivalent to 3,
500 calories is roughly equivalent to one pound.
Most Unprocessed Foods and DrinksPrimarily Vegetables & FruitsBalance of Carbohydrates, Fats, and ProteinsThe way to go because in the end.
You quickly fall in to the category of despair and
blame the diet or in many cases, dieting for teenage girls will backfire and
reduce the odds of positive results.
8) Tobacco: While smoking is dangerous, tobacco does have one other possible
benefit. This “all-in-one” revitalization supplement will also help you get the most bang for your buck.
Using this ingredient could help you in maintaining a
healthy glowing skin.
There really is no difference between extra virgin coconut oil and
virgin coconut oil. Coconut Oil is solid at temperatures below 76 degrees.
There are many health benefits associated with coconut
oil, so yes you can call them omega 3 coconut oil benefits if you feel like it.
Enjoyed the read. On a related note, Artest bothers me.