Dear pandas of the world:
Metta World Peace wants you to know he’s got your back.
The former NBA star is playing in China this year for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association, and is updating his name accordingly.
The man once upon a time known as Ron Artest currently goes by Ci Siping in China, which directly translates as World Peace. But from now on, he’ll go by “The Panda’s Friend.”
Artest’s name will likely be a hit with his new fanbase – not that he needs any help with that. The announcement of Artest signing with the CBA was greeted with enthusiasm by millions of Chinese basketball fans.
“Metta World Peace Signs With CBA” received over 8,960,000 entries on the Chinese web service Baidu.com, China Daily reports. The news also went viral on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. “World Peace Signs with CBA” got over 25.75 million hits on the site, and World Peace’s page already has almost a million followers.