Facebook, the world’s largest social-media platform, changed its company name to Meta on Thursday. The move drew questions from many but approval from NBA legend Metta Sandiford-Artest, a veteran of the name-changing game and a Metta himself. Very meta indeed.
Sandiford-Artest, who changed his name from Ron Artest to Metta World Peace during the 2011 NBA offseason, tweeted he’s “very happy” about Facebook’s name change while adding his phone rang “non stop” after the announcement.
“Excited to see new innovation,” Sandiford-Artest, 41, wrote. “This was so cool.”
Facebook says it changed its company name to reflect its vision of a metaverse where the physical and virtual worlds collide. The social network itself, however, will keep its current name.
Sandiford-Artest also hoped for a rebrand by changing his name to Metta, but his reasoning was more wholesome than business-savvy. Metta is a Buddhist term for “loving kindness,” something the tenacious defender rarely shared with the opponents he shared the floor with.
“I changed my name because I got tired of Ron Artest, he’s a [expletive],” Sandiford-Artest told the LA Times in 2011. “And when fans get mad at me, they can’t say, ‘I hate World Peace.'”
In May 2020 then-Metta World Peace changed his last name to Sandiford-Artest to return to his surname and pay homage to his wife, Maya Ford.
Sandiford-Artest played 17 NBA seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks. The four-time All-Defensive team selection won an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2010, and in 2003-2004 he earned Defensive Player of the Year and All-NBA honors.