When the 31-year-old Ron Artest's name was legally changed to Metta World Peace on Sept. 16, 2011, he said in a statement, ''Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world.'' In August 2014, World Peace, the newest member of the Chinese Basketball Association's Sichuan Blue Whales, announced on the Chinese social media site that a "new Chinese name is coming soon." While we eagerly await that one, here's a look at other unusual name changes.
2 of 15Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Chad Ochocinco (from Chad Johnson)
On Oct. 25, 2006, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Johnson announced that he would prefer to be called ''Ocho Cinco,'' which is ''eight five'' in Spanish. (''Eighty five'' would be ''ochenta y cinco''). Johnson legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ochocinco on Aug. 29, 2008. He played with ''Ochocinco'' on the back of his jersey since the 2009 preseason. On July 23, 2012, after Ochocinco's move to the Miami Dolphins, he legally changed his name back to Chad Johnson at a Broward County courthouse because he ''wanted to reconnect with his former self.''
3 of 15Andy Hayt/SI
World B. Free (from Lloyd B. Free)
Despite the civic undertones of his new identity, the former Lloyd B. Free got his nickname from his basketball prowess, not his politics: with an alleged 44-inch vertical leap, the stylish All-Star was often dubbed ''All-World.'' And with the Warriors in 1980, Free made it official.
4 of 15Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar (from Karim Abdul-Jabbar)
In college, future Dolphin Sharmon Shaw, a Muslim, received the name Karim Abdul-Jabbar from his Imam. But the NBA's Kareem sued the tailback -- also using No. 33 -- and won a lawsuit forcing him to change his name on the grounds that he was profiting off someone else's identity.
5 of 15Ronald C. Modra/SI
Mark Super Duper (from Mark Duper)
Let's face it: Mark Duper was going to be called as much anyway. In 1985, the three-time Pro Bowl receiver and favorite target of Dan Marino legally adopted his lifelong nickname, though he swore it wasn't a matter of ego. ''I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to be Mr. Big,'' Duper said.
6 of 15Tony Triolo/SI
Marvelous Marvin Hagler (from Marvin Hagler)
One of history's best middleweights famously felt unappreciated by the media. Solution? In 1982, Marvin Hagler legally changed the first word of his name to ''Marvelous,'' coercing the praise from talking heads that his 52 career KO's left wanting
7 of 15Tom Gannam/AP
Mike Danton (from Mike Jefferson)
While with the Devils organization, he changed his last name from Jefferson to Danton after becoming estranged from his family. He admitted he adopted the surname ''Danton'' from the name of a 13-year old boy at David Frost's (his eventual agent) hockey camp, because the name sounded ''cool.''
8 of 15Robert Beck/SI
Ervin Santana (from Johan Santana)
Being a gifted Hispanic pitcher named Johan Santana is a tough gig -- if you're not THAT Johan Santana. And so it was in 2003, when the Angels' righty simply opted to rebrand while in the minor leagues. Said Santana, ''I just came up with Ervin... Ervin Santana, that sounds good.'' Good timing, since Johan Santana won the AL Cy Young in 2004.
9 of 15Eric Risberg/AP
Jose Uribe (from Jose Gonzalez)
The Player To Be Named Later's patron saint is named Jose Uribe. In 1985, after the late shortstop became the last piece in the Jack Clark trade between St. Louis and St. Francisco, he literally renamed himself. The reasoning was simple: according to Uribe, there were too many Gonzalezes in baseball.
10 of 15Robert Beck/SI
J.B. Holmes (from John Holmes)
Known for his long drives, the PGA Tour player -- who shared a name with a porn legend -- decided to go by his initials as a rookie in 2006. Why? ''You guys ought to be able to figure that out,'' he said.
11 of 15Danny Moloshok/AP
Maurice Jones-Drew (from Maurice Drew)
Maurice Jones's grandfather, Drew, succeeded in his one goal: to see his grandson play through his first two seasons at UCLA. And after Drew suffered a fatal heart attack at the end of the second game of Maurice's third season, the younger Jones altered the name on his jersey in tribute.
12 of 15Mel Evans/AP; Jamie Squire/Getty Images
William James (from Will Peterson)
It wasn't an homage to the philosopher, but it was philosophical. Upon joining the Eagles, the erstwhile Giants cornerback known as Will Peterson totally started anew by dropping his father's name and extending his first one. Said James: ''William James represents...a change in my mind-state.''
13 of 15Ann Heisenfelt/AP
Boof Bonser (from John Paul Bonser)
John Paul Bonser had been called ''Boof'' since his infancy and had no idea what it meant. Regardless, the eventual Twins starter made it permanent in 2001 when he legally adopted the name. ''He's a bulldog,'' Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said, ''if a guy named Boof can be a bulldog.''
14 of 15Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images; Kevork Djansezian/AP
J.R. Sakuragi (from J.R. Henderson)
When former Grizzlies forward J.R. Henderson left to play in Japan, he attained a stardom never achieved stateside (21 ppg, 11 rpg in 2007). But one thing kept him from a spot on the national team: his American-ness. So Henderson acquired both a Japanese name and passport to complete the transformation.
15 of 15Brad Mangin/SI
Rudi Galindo (from Rudy Galindo)
How much did figure-skater Rudy Galindo appreciate his partner, Kristi Yamaguchi? For the years he skated pairs with her, he ended his name with an ''i'' instead of a ''y'' in her honor. The parallelism seemed to work: the two won the national title twice, in 1989 and 1990.
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