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 promote good will toward all. He is the father of four children.
World Peace signed with the New York Knicks in July 2013 and has been playing professional basketball in the NBA since 1999. 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.
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, Saramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and now the New York Knicks. World Peace is known as a colorful, fun and entertaining persona. His off-court activities include several entertainment-related projects and a significant amount of charitable work in the community. In August 2007 he formed his nonprofit, “Xcel University,” to officially organize and streamline his charitable contributions 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 mental health services for children.
World Peace has visited dozens of community centers and schools in low income areas of numerous cities throughout his career, speaking to kids about the virtues of education and a life devoid of violence and drugs, and the importance of asking for help when one needs it. He has sponsored numerous summer basketball tournaments in the Queensbridge Projects in New York City and continues to pay for private school tuition for kids from Queensbridge who show academic promise.