Metta World Peace

Born Ronald William Artest Jr. on Nov. 13, 1979, in Queensbridge, New York, Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace in September 2011, in an effort to encourage dialogue over physical violence and to promote good will toward all. He is the father of four children.

World Peace was selected by the Chicago Bulls as the 16th pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. In his career he has also played for the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Knicks. He was selected to the 2005-06 NBA’s All-Defensive Team, was voted by the media as 2003-04 NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, and was the only man with 271 steals in his first two seasons in the NBA, breaking Michael Jordan’s record. He won his first NBA World Championship with the LA Lakers in June, 2010, and received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – the NBA’s highest citizenship and community service honor – in April 2011.

In August 2007 he formed his nonprofit, “Xcel University,” to streamline his charitable and community endeavors under one umbrella. In fall 2010, World Peace raffled off his 2010 NBA World Championship Ring. The online ring raffle, which concluded on December 25, 2010, raised over $650,000. Funds raised through the ring raffle were donated to nonprofits that provide mental health therapists and mental health services to their communities, in cities including Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Cleveland, New York, Little Rock, and the central Tennessee region. World Peace helped Congresswoman Napolitano launch “The Mental Health in Schools Act” and made a visit to Washington, D.C. in February 2011 and again in February 2013 to encourage congressional members to vote for the Act, which would increase access to mental health services for children. He is a member of Rep. Napolitano’s Mental Health Task Force.

World Peace has spoken with youth and members of the community at dozens of community centers, school, and prisons in numerous cities throughout his career, speaking to kids about the importance of education and a life devoid of violence and drugs, and the necessity of seeking out help when one needs it.