Ronald William Artest Junior. Metta World Peace. The Pandas Friend. Metta Sandiford-Artest.
Ron Artest is a man of many names, but has a reputation for being one of the best defenders in NBA history. With various NBA honors and a Los Angeles Lakers championship under his belt, Artest played successfully for multiple NBA teams and went on to retire in 2017 after playing professional basketball for 18 years.
Ron Artest Early Life
Born Ronald William Artest Jr. on Nov. 13, 1979, Artest was raised in Queens, New York with his younger brothers, Isaiah and Daniel. His interest in basketball began to shine when he joined his high school basketball team at La Salle Academy, which turned into a college basketball career at St. John’s University. Artest may have had playing basketball on his mind, but he went to college with a major in mathematics.
Ron Artest Name Changes
Ron Artest has changed his name legally multiple times over his life, starting in 2011 when he went by Metta World Peace. The name change came from his desire to spread awareness for mental health and togetherness, with an encouragement to “inspire and bring youth together all around the world,” he said in a statement.
When Metta World Peace signed with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2014, he changed his name to The Pandas Friend. Today, Artest goes by Metta Sandiford-Artest, a combination of his own name and wife Maya Sandiford’s.
Ron Artest NBA Career
Throughout his basketball career, Artest earned himself various awards and recognitions, including:
- NBA All Star
- All-Rookie (1900-2000)
- All-NBA honors (2003-2004)
- All-Defensive (4x)
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (2004)
- NBA Champion (2010)
Artest began his professional NBA career with the Chicago Bulls as the 16th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. He played with the Bulls for over two years as a starter, where he was named the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
In 2001, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers and remained on the team until 2004. During this time, he had impressive stats that led him to the NBA All-Star Game, where he was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Unfortunately, during this time, he was also suspended for four games for getting into a verbal fight with Miami Heat head coach Pat Riley and got the crowd involved after he flashed an “obscene gesture.” Later that year, he got into another altercation involving team members and fans, which led to Artest getting suspended for the remainder of the season.
After finishing up the 2005-2006 season, Artest made a request to be traded based on his negative experience with the Pacers. He moved on to the Sacramento Kings midway through the 2006 season and helped the team break .500 and gain the eighth spot in the Western Conference. By 2008, his time with the Kings was up and he headed for the Houston Rockets.
During the 2008-2009 season with Houston, he helped the team get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. However, his flagrant fouls and other tough calls made it difficult for him to settle in Houston
By 2009, Artest (soon to be Metta World Peace) was a Laker and signed a five-year contract with the team. And in 2010, right before changing his name, he helped the Lakers win the 2010 NBA Championship against the Boston Celtics.
By 2012, Artest found himself dealing with more controversy, getting suspended for seven games for another flagrant foul. Soon, one injury after another would cause health issues for Artest, needing various surgeries to continue playing.
In 2013, Artest left the Lakers and signed a two-year deal with the New York Knicks. A year later, Artest would leave to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association. Shortly after his time in China, Ron Artest and the Lakers reunited again where he would play for another two years, then moving on to play for the New Orleans Gators in 2017 and the San Diego Kings in 2019 on a one-day contract.
Ron Artest Stats
With six different NBA teams under his belt, Artest had impressive career stats:
- G: 991
- PTS: 13.2
- TRB: 4.5
- AST: 2.7
- FG%: 41.4
- FG3%: 33.9
- FT%: 71.5
- PER: 14.8
- WS: 61.1
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