*Ron Artest can now hit the dance floor in “peace.”
A brief hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday morning made it official — Ron Artest has changed his name to Metta World Peace, according to ESPN.
According to Artest’s publicist, Courtney Barnes, the new “Dancing With the Stars” contestant was not present for the ruling, but his attorney, Nahla Rajan, represented her client in front of commissioner Matthew C. St. George.
“[Rajan] walked up, the judge said, ‘We understand he wants to change his name and he wants to do so for personal reasons,’ and it was granted,” Barnes said. “That was it. It was that quick.”
Artest’s initial request to change his name last month was delayed because of a failure to pay an outstanding parking ticket.
“As soon as we found out about it from the previous hearing, once we were able to track down the ticket, it was immediately taken care of,” Barnes said.
Artest’s 8-year-old daughter, Diamond, also plans to change her surname from Artest to World Peace now that her father’s name change has become official.
“This process needed to go through [Friday] and be legal before there would be any pursuit of that,” Barnes said.
“Metta is going to be the first name and it means like friendship, love and kindness,” Artest told Stephen A. Smith on 710 ESPNLA earlier this month. “World Peace is going to be the last name, so everybody can get ready to buy their World Peace jerseys.”
Artest told Yahoo! Sports he plans to wear No. 70 next season, but the NBA has rules that prevent players from switching their uniform number from year to year. The deadline for a player to change his number is in early March to have it go into effect for the next season and once a number is changed, it has to be worn for five seasons with that team before a player is allowed to change it (unless he is traded to a new team or leaves as a free agent).
Artest wore No. 37 after signing on as a free agent with the Lakers in 2009-10 and did switch to No. 15 last season. It’s not clear what he had to do to accomplish that. The uniform rule does not come with any stipulations for a name change, however.
If there is a request or circumstance that calls for a number change within the five-year period is approved, it may come with a cost of some kind, according to a league source.
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