LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers fans now will be cheering for world peace when the Lakers star formerly known as Ron Artest takes to the court.
That's because Artest's name now is Metta World Peace, because Los Angeles court officials approved the name change.
World Peace, who will spend his off-season competing on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," was granted the change just in time for the show's season premiere on Monday night after clearing up lingering traffic ticket warrants.
"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's now official," World Peace said in a written statement.
World Peace was not in court for the hearing, but an attorney represented him at the hearing.
A publicist for World Peace, Courtney Barnes, said the name change would require the Lakers defender to obtain a new driver's license, passport, and other official documents but would not affect his contract with the team.
The former Ronald William Artest, 31, will sport the new name on the back of his Lakers jersey starting next season.
"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," Barnes said. "Metta World Peace felt just right."
World Peace is considered one of the NBA's premiere defenders.He joined the Lakers in 2009 and helped lead the franchise to a championship.
World Peace will be paired with dance professional Peta Murgatroyd on this season's "Dancing With the Stars," competing alongside a cast that includes actor David Arquette, transgender activist Chaz Bono, journalist Nancy Grace, and reality TV star Kristin Cavallari.