From Ron Artest to Metta World Peace and Five Other Weird Celebrity Name Changes

Categories: WTF
Yesterday, Ron Artest's attorney filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to change the Los Angeles Lakers forward's name to Metta World Peace. Born Ronald William Artest Jr., the 31-year-old cited personal reasons for wanting to make the change. This is not the first time a sports personality has changed their monicker, neither is it the first time a musician has changed their name. After the jump, a list of the weirdest name changes we can remember.

1. Prince Rogers Nelson is usually known only by his first name. He changed his name to the unpronounceable symbol--a glyph that incorporates the male and female signs--that he used between 1993 and 2000. He was then known to media as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince", often abbreviated to "TAFKAP", or simply "The Artist." It was widely known that he changed his name so he wouldn't be beholden to his publishing contract with Warner-Chappel.

2. Cat Stevens Born Steven Demetre Georgiou, he first made up his stage name partly  because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but mainly because, as he said, "I couldn't imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for 'that Steven Demetre Georgiou album'" When he converted to Islam, he legally changed his name to Yusuf Islam, Yusuf being the Arabic version of Joseph.

3. Lloyd Bernard Free played in the NBA from 1975 to 1988. He legally changed his first name to "World" in 1981--a nickname he got due to his 44-inch vertical leaps and 360-degree dunks.


4. Chad Johnson NFL player of the Cincinnati Bengals legally changed his last name to Ochocinco in August 2008. The name means "eight five" in Spanish, after his jersey number. 


5. He Hate Me According to Yahoo Sports, this wasn't a legal name change, but Rod Smart, who had a stint with Vince McMahon's short-lived football federation, the XFL,  referred to himself as "He Hate Me." Whaaaaa?

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