Ron Artest disappeared from the world in the middle of September, but it wasn't until just this week that the NBA recognized World Peace. Artest legally changed his name to Metta World Peace, but his old handle continued to show up on the Lakers website and on

The Wall Street Journal reports the Lakers quietly changed Artest's name to his new handle of World Peace. The first name, Metta, comes from a Buddhist term that embodies friendship, love and kindness. Ron Ron also wants the name change to reflect a better reputation on the court.

Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed to the WSJ that the player formally known as Artest will be sporting a jersey with his new name. "It will read 'World Peace,'" Black said.

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Artest's name change to World Peace was picked by TIME Magazine's website as the sixth biggest oddball news story of 2011. Even stranger than: Occupy Denver electing a dog as its leader; Albany, Ga., collecting $4,000 in fines by enforcing a ban on sagging pants; and a Wisconsin man eating his 25,000th Big Mac.

World Peace was an All-Star and won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award with the Indiana Pacers in 2004. He helped the Lakers beat the Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals. And he's also spent time with the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets.

Metta World Peace will take the court for the first time when the Lakers play an exhibition game on Dec. 19 at Staples Center against Blake Griffin's Clippers.

Artest name change to "World Peace" made for some fun local news banter.

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