Meet ‘The Pandas Friend’: Metta World Peace To Change Name Again!

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ron artest

New country, new team, and a name that is apropos to his new digs, controversial former Knicks forward Metta World Peace (pictured) is up to his name-changing shenanigans yet again! This go-round, Metta will be playing B-ball in China next year for the Chinese Basketball Association’s (CBA) Sichuan Blue Whale team, so he has chosen the new moniker “The Pandas Friend (TPF),” according to China Daily.

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TPF will reportedly go by the name of Ci Siping when he is in China, which is the literal translation of Metta World Peace. TPF’s recent decision to change his name, though, was reportedly made because he wanted one that encompassed something reflecting the culture of his temporary home.

TPF’s actual birth name is Ron Artest, and his decision to play in China will result in his being the league’s highest-paid player. The 34-year-old will reportedly receive a one-year $1.43-million contract for playing with the Blue Whales next season.

Over the last few years,  many former NBA players have looked to join basketball teams in dozens of countries, such as Turkey, Italy, and China because they are not only willing to pay, but they are also afforded the opportunity to keep their hoop dreams alive.

What are some of the rules with regards to import basketball players in China? The four teams with the worst records in the previous season are allowed three foreign players, but one must be Asian. There are also limits on how many can be on the court at any given time. Once upon a time, Chinese teams were limited to paying overseas players a wage ceiling of $60,000 a month, but this is certainly no longer the case.

Still, these days many of the top former ballers don’t even make anything remotely close, dollar-wise, to what they were paid in the States during their heyday. Local Chinese players can typically earn in the range of $46,000 to $77,600 a season, while import lesser-known players can stand to make upward of $350,000.

Those former NBA players who were stars in the United States, however, have an earning capacity somewhere in the $1- to- $2-million earnings range with the CBA. The foreign players are reportedly also pretty pampered in the Asian country, with such perks as free housing, personal chefs, a driver, and health care as well.

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