We have seen many name changes throughout the history of sports. The two most notable name changes are Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and Lew Alcindor to Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Ali changed his name in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam, and Kareem adopted his Muslim name in 1971. Both of these name changes, in retrospect, seem to make sense and definitely fit who they represent. There are several others of note as well; Brian Williams, Maryland & Arizona & former NBA player, changed his name to Bison Dele to honor his Native American and African heratige, Chris Jackson, LSU and NBA, converted to Islam in 1991 and changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Bobby Moore changed to Ahmad Rashad for the same religious reason. Again, these name changes seem to be purposeful, but not all name changes have been.
Now, there are those name changes that seem to have little more meaning than to garner attention and capitalize on marketability. We begin with one you may not have heard of. Greg White, former defensive end for the Buccaneers. He changed his name to Stylez G. White reportedly to pay homage to Michael J. Fox's character in the movie Teen Wolf. What? If you're going to change your name to pay homage to a movie don't you choose characters like Tony Montana from Scarface, Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs, Don Vito from The Godfather, or even 007, Bond, James Bond? I would hate to think what Mr. White would have changed his name to if his favorite movie was Bevis and Butthead Do America!!
The next name change is well known. You all remember who Chad Johnson was? Well, he was an up and coming wide receiver in the NFL. A superstar in the making but something happened along the way...he changed his name to Chad Ocho Cinco...which in Spanish means eight five..not eighty five...eight five. It was no more than an attention getting ploy geared toward marketability. But Mr. Johnson's name change sired an alter ego that has seemingly derailed Chad Johnson's Hall of Fame aspirations.
And now we come to maybe the most ridiculous/redonkulous name change in the history of name changes...Metta World Peace! No, this is not one of those street fundraising companies that places college kids out in front of the mall to solicit donations for poverty striken children using a booklet of depressing pictures . It's not a "Save the Whales" campaign...this is Ron Artest's new name. Metta World F'ing Peace? So... the other night when James Hardin received an elbow to the back of his head, was that Metta World Peace going Ron Artest on his ass?
How far can name changes go before someone says enough is enough? I guess if Prince can change his name to a symbol to avoid contract issues with Sony, there might not be any limits. What if an athlete changed their name to Mother Fu**er? What if another changed his/her name to Kill The President? There must be a limit, right?
I think if I were going to change my name simply for attention I would go with someone else's name who was rich like Bill Gates or Paul Allen. That way if there were ever any identity issues I may get lucky and wake up with a hundred million $ in my bank account. Or, maybe I would change my name to a number, the numeric version not the spelled out version..ie..34. That way I could have 2 numbers on my jersey and confuse the referees and score keepers. Or maybe I would change my name to Nike...gotta be some dough for me somewhere in there.
I will be assigning new names to the members of the KJR staff this week so check back with my page this week and if you have a name you think would fit a particular host here at Sports Radio KJR, send me an e-mail. email@example.com