On Monday, Metta World Peace signed with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association. The world would be kidding itself if it did not expect eccentric dominoes to follow.
On Wednesday, China Daily, an English-language newspaper, reported World Peace plans to change his name to "Panda Friend." World Peace, born Ronald William Artest Jr., made his initial name change in September 2011.
The former All-Star, NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA champion had foreshadowed the name change for the past week. He started his transition to China with a nod to the nation's famous animal based in the Sichuan province.
First thing I am doing when I get to china will be visiting Pandas with my daughter @BabyGirl_Sade
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) July 31, 2014
Then he started hinting at some name changes while negotiating his contract.
I'm changing my name for the China this season !!!! You guys will love it
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 1, 2014
I'm excited to announce I'm officially a member of the Sichuan Blue Whale Basketball Club! Big season ahead for us! pic.twitter.com/xOmCUW28D5
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 4, 2014
New Chinese name coming soon. You guys are going to love it!!!!
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 5, 2014
World Peace is known for his eccentricities during an NBA career that featured both praise -- he won the 2011 J. Walker Kennedy Citizenship Award–and controversy -- he was suspended 86 games 2004-05 for attacking a fan in stands. On his first name change, World Peace said in a statement: "Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world."
Initial reports claimed World Peace's new name would simply be 'Panda Friend.' It now appears the name is a bit more complex.
Guys my chinese name is not "Panda Friend" , its "The Pandas Friend".
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 7, 2014
ThePostGame is choosing to use an apostrophe, assuming World Peace's camp will fix his grammar.
World Peace's contract is reportedly a one-year deal for $1.43 million. It makes him the highest paid import player in CBA (not collective bargaining agreement).
It has been a long road for the man once known for "Malice at the Palace." Now, his future name will imply a tender relationship with a furry animal.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.