When it comes to Metta World Peace, change is slow to catch on
Some people call him by the name he was given at birth. Others use the one he gave himself in a filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court. There also is a handful of people who stumble, not sure what to say.
Welcome to the new world of the former Ron Artest.
The Lakers forward was officially allowed to change his name to Metta World Peace after paying an unspecified number of outstanding parking tickets, as per a judge’s order, in September.
Since then, Lakers practices and games are a grab bag of names for the guy wearing No. 15. Ron. Metta. Ron-Ron. Peace.
A little help?
“I told the guys, ‘Don’t feel bad if you call me Ron,’ ” World Peace said Thursday. “If fans want to call me Ron, not Metta, that’s all right, I don’t have a problem.”
One person always calls him by his new name.
“Mitch [Kupchak] is the only one who’s consistent with it,” World Peace said, referring to the Lakers general manager. “Coach [Mike Brown] calls me Ron when he’s mad at me.”
Not so. Brown claimed to call him World Peace.
“I’m trying, but nobody’s helping me,” Brown said. “I’d like to try and call him Metta because he said he spent a lot of money [on the name change] so I want help him at least earn his money back a little bit.”
Don’t feel bad. Even World Peace gets confused.
He was hard to read after Lakers fans chanted, “We want World Peace” and “World Peace” for the first time at a game Tuesday against Utah.
“I don’t know why I changed my name,” he said whimsically. “Every time I hear ‘World Peace’ I wish I had a microphone. I would tell everyone to stop it, please. Don’t say it.”
Apparently, he’s still getting used to it too.
So long, Chandler
New Year’s Eve hasn’t arrived, but Brown felt like celebrating with champagne earlier this month.
The reason: Tyson Chandler left Dallas to join the New York Knicks as a free agent.
The defense-minded center was a key part of the Mavericks’ championship run last season, averaging eight points and 9.2 rebounds in 21 playoff games.
Now he is in the Eastern Conference, far away from the Lakers … with the exception of the game against New York on Thursday at Staples Center.
“I think it’s great,” Brown said of Chandler’s departure from Dallas. “I thought about taking my wife to dinner, busting open a bottle of champagne. I figured it would be a little too expensive and wasn’t quite worth it. But I was happy.”
Chandler, 29, was off to a slow start with the Knicks, averaging 4.5 points and three rebounds in his first two games. He signed a four-year deal that has been reported to be worth $50 million.
Not close enough
The Lakers weren’t so happy when guard Baron Davis chose the Knicks after he was waived by Cleveland two weeks ago. The Lakers inquired about Davis but were rebuffed.
“From my understanding, we did not offer him [a contract]. I know we talked to him about it,” Brown said. “We wanted to have a face-to-face with him. … I think he was leaning to New York from the beginning.”
Davis, 32, did not play Thursday against the Lakers and remained out indefinitely because of persistent back pain. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 assists last season with the Clippers and Cleveland.
Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report.
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