Sunday, 18 September 2011
WORLD B. FREE
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Sometime back in the Sixties legendary sports anchor Howard Cosell was interviewing his close personal friend and the greatest figure in sporting history; Muhammed Ali about his refusal to declare for the draft to go fight in the Vietnam war. An interview that was depicted by Jon Voight and Will Smith in Michael Mann's movie 'Ali'. There was a mutual respect between these two men and it was highlighted at a time Ali's legend was under controversial scrutiny. During the interview Cosell made the mistake of calling Ali by his former name Clay saying, "Cassius, in my opinion". "My name ain't Cassius Clay. That is a slave name, and I am a free man. I am Muhammad Ali," the greatest declared. "You know, I apologize. I apologize to you on the air. Your name is Muhammad Ali. You have a right to be called whatever you want. I apologize to you.". You have a right to be called whatever you want.
Ron Artest...wait I apologise, I apologise to you in this article. Metta World Peace you have a right to be called whatever you want. You have the right to do whatever you want and be whatever and whoever you want to be. I mean besides Lloyd Bernard Free changed his name to World B. Free due to his aerial amazing antics in the NBA and NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson legally changed his his to his 85 jersey number in Spanish to Ochocinc. Hey even music legend Prince changed his name to everything from The Artist, TAFKAP and a symbol.
Metta it's not only the courts that recognise your name, we do too and no traffic tickets are going to restrict that. Not that you need our validation but we respect and accept your decision, your Buddhist beliefs and the personal reasons behind them. Sure in some ways you'll always be Ron Artest to us, but your Metta World Peace now.
"Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world," you told us. Your name meaning loving and kindness toward all, what you have continued to show. Just like how your love and kindness has helped you become an amazing advocate for mental health, being a face and an aid for those in need. Turning your past problems in solutions for not just yourself but other. Taking advantage of your celebrity in a way that benefits others raising awareness like you raise spirits.
Raising spirits like you to everyday from your tweets to the character of your interview soundbites. Raising spirits and enthusiasm from the locker room to your invitational events for the public. Your boundless energy that keeps you and us going. Like your rap records that keep us moving, your stand up that keeps us amused or your Dancing with the Stars that keep us entertained. All your energy that allows you to indulge in so many off- court activities but never effects your productivity on court.
The type of productivity that made you a Defensive Player of the Year in Indiana. The type of productivity that made you a star from Sacramento to Houston. The type of productivity that has helped your Los Angeles Laker team achieve two championships, behind your dominating D, hustle and warrior like attitude. The type of enthusiasm and play that has made you turn ill-advised shots-that others would be too scared to take-into game-winners. The type of play that translates into a game that demands respect. The type of respect that takes you from one of Kobe Bryant's biggest rivals to one of his best friend. In the past he knew you only a Artest, now like us all he calls you by your first name, your new government name; Metta.
Metta you really have changed and come a long way, from Hennesy half times to full purity. From brawling in Detroit to motoring on and fighting to make amends. You've dared to be different and your brave and bold behaviour is a gamble that has played off. Metta World Peace is more than just a statement, it's an inspiring declaration of love, unity and most of all peace. It's more than what some see as egotistical, it's something that inspires confidence in everybody. Some people may see it as strange but like you said if they hate on you they can't say 'F%$# World Peace'. You see now they can't touch you or the positive notion. Metta World Peace is more than just a statement...it's you. It's offical.