This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of MemphiSport.
Now that Ron Artest has legally changed his name to Metta World Peace, should any Grizzlies players opt for a unique name change?
Kevin: This is an interesting question. Just a little over ten years ago, people in Memphis were debating whether or not the franchise should change its name when it moved to town. Now actual NBA players are changing their names.
Marcus: Ron Artest is a character. Chad Ochocinco is a character. Tony Allen is a character, and he is the only Grizzlies player I could see doing something so outrageous. How about Tony Grindhouse? If he does that, it would be instant media attention and will make the name Gridhouse all his.
Kevin: There are countless new name ideas for Tony Allen. How about Salmon And Mashed Potatoes? Grit And Grind? Or what if he changed his name to his Twitter handle? I could see @aa000G9 jerseys selling better than BBQ nachos.
Marcus: No one would know how to pronounce @aa000G9, so we would have to call him The Player Formerly Known As Tony Allen. I like the idea though. Sounds like an easy way to get more followers.
Kevin: Rudy Gay and Mike Conley both already wear part of their Twitter handles on the back of their jerseys.
Marcus: Every NBA player needs to take a look at all the pros and cons before going through with a name change. Sure it will grab you worldwide headlines and possibility make you a household name, but look at what has happened to the careers of the major stars to already make the leap. Chad Ochocinco changed his name and now he is terrible at football. Ron or Metta World whatever changed his name and just a few days later he was eliminated off Dancing with the Stars. Seems to be bad luck.
Kevin: You may have a point, but that still shouldn’t stop Tony Allen from changing his name to Metta World Bourrée Champion.
Marcus: Tony Allen should just change his name to MEMPHIS!
Kevin: What if he gets traded?
Marcus: He would have to change it again, or he could just claim to be a big fan of the Broadway musical by the same name.
Kevin: Zach Randolph should go ahead and officially change his name to Z-Bo. Everyone already calls him that and his real name carries too much baggage with it from his past.
Marcus: If Pau Gasol was still on the team, he could change his name to Pau GaSoft! I kid of course. Pau is a good guy… just a soft big man.
Kevin: Hamed Haddadi should keep his last name but change his first name to Who’s and his middle name to Your.
Marcus: Mike Conley could change his name to MediaHatesMe.
Kevin: Rudy Gay could sell his naming rights to the classic snack food Dunkaroo’s.
Marcus: Speaking of food, O.J. Mayo is one player on the Grizzlies who already has a cool name and doesn’t need to change it.
Kevin: As long as he doesn’t change his last name to Simpson, he will be okay. But I wouldn’t mind if O.J. changed his name to my favorite breakfast drink and condiment. How could Coach Lionel Hollins not start someone named Coffee Lenny’s Hot Pepper Relish?
Marcus: I wish Michael Jackson was still alive just so he could advise players on possible name changes. Don’t forget, “The King of Pop” named his own child Blanket.
Kevin: That is true. The names of pro athletes are starting to become just as outrageous as the names of celebrity babies. It’s a trend I think we can all get behind.
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Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010 & 2011 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.
-Photo by Chase Gustafson