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Ron Artest, aka Metta World Peace, aka The Pandas Friend - now in China

Question: If Metta/ Ron/ Panda moves on to an Indian league, will be be Elephant Buddy? In Russia, would he be Bear Sidekick? In Egypt, Camel Companion?

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

Deep down, don't we all want to vacation in the mind of Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace? Where else can names be constantly shifting based on one's mindset and where one lives - all the way to Panda Friend? EDIT: the Chinese name will be "The Pandas Friend," per MWP.

Anyway, Metta World Peace is changing his name again. From China Daily (hat tip, Slam Magazine):

New high-profile import playing for Chinese basketball Association club Sichuan Blue Whales is known as Ron Artest but intends to change his name to "Panda Friend" in honor of his move to China.

World Peace, who is known in China as "Ci Shiping", a literal translation of "Metta World Peace," now plans to name himself after China's giant panda, a precious animal based in Southwest China's Sichuan province, where his new team is also based.

Apparently excited by his China trip, the "Panda Friend" tweeted he would be visiting the pandas with his daughter, while also adding that he would be changing his name in honor of his move.

World Peace, drafted in the first round from St. John's in 1999, signed in China for $1.43 million, joining fellow New Yorker Stephon Marbury in extending his career. As Ron Artest, he averaged 14.5 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block per game in his last year with the Red Storm, leading the team that made the Elite Eight in 1999 in Mike Jarvis' first year.

He most recently played for the New York Knicks in the NBA in a limited role.