Earlier this week, Metta World Peace finalized a deal with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association. It appears Metta has chosen a new name for his tenure in China, and it’s almost as bonkers as Metta World Peace.
After signing his deal to play in China, Metta took to Twitter to let fans know that a name change was coming:
New Chinese name coming soon. You guys are going to love it!!!!
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 5, 2014
Via China Daily, it appears Metta wants to change his name to Panda Friend. We’ll let the article explain the significance of this name:
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.
Metta’s signing has already made a huge impact overseas. According to the article, “World Peace signs with CBA” was trending on Weibo — China’s social media version of Twitter — with over 25.75 million hits on the site. Metta’s Weibo account is already approaching a million followers, as well.
Chinese basketball fans are often fascinated by overseas players because of their experience in the NBA. The best example would be Stephon Marbury. Others who have passed by the CBA for a cup of tea include Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas and J.R. Smith.
Panda Friend sounds like a catchy name, especially given its connection with the Sichuan province, but fans seem to have another suggestion for him:
Most of the commenters on @MettaWorldPeace's Weibo page want him to change his name to ???? (Kung Fu Panda) rather than ???? (Panda Friend).
— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) August 7, 2014
Consequently, the CBA wraps up its season well before the start of the NBA playoffs, so if Metta has a strong showing in Sichuan next year, it’s not inconceivable he’ll be picked up by a contender for the postseason. If he does return to the NBA, here’s hoping he brings his Panda Friend nickname back to America with him.
What do you think?
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