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OTRC: Ron Artest officially changed his name to Metta World Peace

Ron Artest talks about being part of the cast of 'Dancing With The Stars' season 13 on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011.

Ron Artest, a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers and "Dancing With The Stars" contestant, legally changed his name to Metta World Peace in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday.

"Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world. After this short delay, my tickets have been paid and I'm glad that it is now official," World Peace said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com.

On June 23, Artest made headlines after filing a petition in L.A. County Superior Court to change his name to Metta World Peace. According to the Los Angeles Times, the petition was put on hold until Artest paid outstanding traffic warrants.

Artest's court date was set for September 16 and after he paid two traffic violations and the $395 filing fee to officially change his name, the request was granted.

Though World Peace did not appear in court, his new moniker was granted to his attorney. The name change will require World Peace to get a new drivers license, passport and other official identification documents.

His first name is officially Metta, which means "loving-kindness and friendliness" according to a statement released by his rep. His last name is World Peace.

"While he is not a Buddhist, many of the first names that were considered by World Peace were in the spirit of Buddhism for its peaceful conventions," the statement continued. "World Peace has contemplated the name change for years and always knew that he wanted his last name to be World Peace but it took many years of research and soul searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational. Metta World Peace felt just right."

World Peace, a 31-year-old professional basketball player and rapper, is one of 12 contestants announced on Monday as the cast of the upcoming 13th season of the ABC ballroom dancing series, which is set to premiere on September 19 on ABC.

"I have no rhythm, my hips are horrible. You know, I've been playing defense for what, the last thirteen years? I've been in that stance for so long that my hips aren't working anymore. Hopefully, this will get me back," World Peace told OnTheRedCarpet.com in August. "Dancing is hard, I was trying to do a dance class and I can't really move. My feet were going left to right when they were supposed to be going right to left!"

World Peace said he planned to donate his "Dancing With The Stars" profits to cancer research, in honor of his 8-year-old daughter Diamond, who is a cancer survivor.

The NBA locked out its players in July, when its collective bargaining agreement expired and the pro sports league was shut down. It is unclear whether Artest would bow out of "Dancing With The Stars" if the NBA were to strike a deal, reps for the network said he would "cross that bridge if and when he comes to it."

Artest majored in mathematics at St. John's University and began his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls. In 2009, he signed a 5-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers for an estimated $33 million.

World Peace's new name will appear on his basketball jersey, ABC has not yet commented on how "Dancing With The Stars" will refer to World Peace.

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