Ron Artest changes name to Metta World Peace


Visualize Artest as World Peace

A court commissioner granted a request by Ron Artest to officially change his name to Metta World Peace on Friday, three weeks after the bid was blocked because the Los Angeles Lakers’ forward had unpaid traffic tickets.

Patricia Kelly, a court spokeswoman, said the 31-year-old Artest’s new last name will be World Peace.

His publicist, Courtney Barnes, said the player chose Metta as a first name because it is a traditional Buddhist word that means loving and kindness toward all.

“Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world,” World Peace said in a statement released after the hearing. “After this short delay, my tickets have been paid and I’m glad that it is now official.”

He requested the change in June, citing personal reasons.


Mayweather returns Saturday

Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is unbeaten in 41 fights, returns to the ring for the first time in 16 months Saturday night in Las Vegas, facing Victor Ortiz (29-2-2) in a fight for a piece of the welterweight title.

Mayweather vows the bout will be entertaining from the opening bell.

“I’m coming straight ahead,” he said. “This fight is not going the distance.”

Mayweather might earn more than $20 million.


Penguins’ Crosby to practice

Injured center Sidney Crosby plans to practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins when they open training camp on Saturday.

When the superstar returns to game action is another story. he was victimized by hard hits in successive games Jan. 1 and 5 and was forced to miss the rest of the regular season and the postseason with a concussion.

“Seeing Sidney Crosby on the ice in that jersey and at practice, it’s always good to see that,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’ll be out there with his teammates participating.”

Doughty doesn’t report to camp

Defenseman Drew Doughty didn’t report to the Los Angeles Kings’ training camp in El Segundo, Calif., while waiting for a new contract.

Doughty, 21, is seeking a lucrative long-term deal, but negotiations have stretched through several months.

“We’re going to continue to have dialogue,” general manager Dean Lombardi said. “He’s going to be a King for a long time.”

Doughty became the second-youngest Norris Trophy finalist in league history as a 20-year-old in 2009-10, his second season. Only 19-year-old Bobby Orr ever earned earlier consideration for the award as the league’s top defenseman.


Spain, Argentina have 2-0 leads

Rafael Nadal dropped a mere four games in helping Spain to a 2-0 start against visiting France in the Davis Cup semifinals. Nadal routed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 on his favorite clay surface and David Ferrer cruised past Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 to put Spain ahead 2-0 in the best-of-five series.

Defending champion Serbia, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, trailed Argentina 2-0 in Belgrade in the other semifinal. Djokovic has an ailing back.

His replacement, Viktor Troicki, lost to David Nalbandian 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Janko Tipsarevic was beaten by Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in the other singles match. Argentina is seeking to reach its first Davis Cup final since 2008.

Track and field

Bekele wins in year’s best time

Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia ran the fastest time of the year in the 10,000 meters at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels, Belgium, less than three weeks after not finishing the world-championships final in South Korea because of hip and hamstring problems.

Bekele won in 26 minutes, 43.16 seconds. Lucas Rotich of Kenya was second in 26:43.98.

Galen Rupp was third, setting an American record of 26:48. Rupp surpassed the previous record by a full 11 seconds, set by Chris Solinsky in April 2010.

Jamaican sprinters fared well, as world-record holder Usain Bolt won the 100 in 9.76 and world champion Yohan Blake took the 200 in 19.26.

Jonathan Borlee of Belgium won the 400 in 44.78 and South African Oscar Pistorius — a double amputee who runs on carbon-fiber blades — was third in 45.46.


• United States captain Todd Clever will be allowed to resume play immediately at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Clever, 28, was cited after a 13-6 victory over Russia on Thursday and admitted to a dangerous-tackle charge, which Jeff Blackett, the IRB’s independent judicial officer, deemed to be “at the lower end of the scale of seriousness.”

Blackett said there was no adverse effect on the tackled player and no further sanction was necessary.

Dean Barker skippered Emirates Team New Zealand to victory over former teammate Russell Coutts aboard San Francisco-based Oracle Racing to reach the final of the match-racing championships in the second stop of the America’s Cup World Series.

After Coutts won the first race, Barker came back to win the final two races in the best-of-three sailing semifinal in Plymouth, England.

Barker was Coutts’ understudy in the 2000 America’s Cup; Coutts is a four-time America’s Cup winner.

Team Korea and its British skipper, Chris Draper, will face Sweden’s Artemis Racing in the other semifinal on Saturday, with the winner moving on to face Team New Zealand for the championship.

Seattle Times news services

Ron Artest changes name to Metta World Peace

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