I Never Metta World Peace I Didn’t Like
So Ron Artest has pretty clearly been working on himself. Remember, between jumping into the stands to start punching fans in 2004 and the announcement that he’s changing his name to Metta World Peace this week, he thanked his therapist on national television after the the Lakers’ championship win in 2010. And then actioned off the ring he got to benefit a mental health charity.
Yeah, yeah, make your jokes. But in the big-ego, me-first world of professional basketball, introspection — much less actual personal improvement — is as rare as a LeBron fan. When even the nice guys have Superman logos tattooed on their arms, and the dumb ones think they’re so good at basketball that they can play baseball, to see someone acknowledge a larger world, much less draw attention to a larger goal for it, is nice to see. This isn’t an awkward post-season PSA or community service as a condition of parole — you change your name out of deeply held belief. Lew Alcindor to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, Rod Smart to He Hate Me. This is perhaps the most public way to announce to the sport, the fans, the world, what’s important to you. It’s your identity.
Ron — Metta — has obviously been through it, and come out the other side a better man. Good for him, and — in some small way — good for all of us, too.