Friday, June 24, 2011


People change the names they were given at birth because they’ve gotten married or gotten divorced, because they’ve changed religions, or because their name is difficult to pronounce.
And some people change it just because.
Ron Artest announced this week that he’s changing his name to “Metta,” which means peace or happiness in Pali, a language of the Indian subcontinent.
Artest has filed a petition in L.A. County Superior Court to change his name and wants the new name on the back of his L.A. Lakers’ jersey.
He tweeted Friday:
Many musicians, actors and personalities changes their name before becoming famous — Ben Kingsley was once Krishna Bhanji and Woody Allen was once Allan Stewart Konigsberg — but others change them afterward. And then change them a second time. Here’s our round up of some of the most memorable moniker changes over time:
Sean Combs
The American rapper, singer, and record producer has changed his handle so many times it’s hard to keep track. “I’ve gone as Puff, Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, King Combs — my real name is Sean Combs — and for a week, this week only, you can call me by my new name, Swag,” he said last month ... which really helped clarify things.
The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
Well, we still call him Prince but the Artist was unpronounceable back in the early 90s, when he changed his name to a symbol that combined the gender symbols for male and female.When asked in a 1995 interview about his name change, he said, “I get by. I don't need a name as such, really.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Following the model of Cassius Clay, who later became Muhammad Ali after joining the nation of Islam, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. also changed his name when converting to Islam. Now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the basketball player’s name was held up in Jon Stewart’s rally late last year as an example of how we stereotype.
Cat Stevens
Steven Demetre Georgiou decided to adopt the stage name of Cat Stevens in part because his girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but also because “I couldn't imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for ‘that Steven Demetre Georgiou album.’” The musician changed his name again after converting to Islam in December 1977, to Yusuf Islam.
Chad Ochocinco
In 2006, American football player Chad Johnson started to say that he’d like to be called “Ocho Cinco,” which means eight five in Spanish. (85 is the number on his jersey.) Johnson was fined $5,000 for using that name on the back of his Atlanta Falcons jersey, and so he decided to legally change his name in 2008. In 2009, Ochocinco announced on youstream that he was changing his name to Hachi Go, which means eight five in Japanese, and said nothing was stopping him from changing it again. Ochocinco never made the legal change to Hachi Go. In 2011, he said he is legally changing his name back to his birth name of Johnson.