Peace and Well-Being
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 was by the LA Lakers as a free agent on July 8, 2009 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.
World Peace has remained an active contributor in his hometown and in cities of organizations for which he has played, and has worked simultaneously in global regions that require urgent humanitarian aid. He formed a nonprofit in August 2007, “Xcel University,” to officially organize and streamline his charitable contributions and community endeavors under one umbrella. World Peace joined a contingent of representatives from the NBA Players Association and the Feed the Children program on a goodwill mission to Africa in July 2007, helping to distribute more than one million meals to impoverished areas in Nairobi as part of the NBPA’s “Feeding One Million” campaign. He reunited with the Feed the Children program for a mission to Central America in August 2007, delivering rations and supplies to deprived areas throughout Honduras.
In the fall of 2008, World Peace and Xcel University launched “The Artest Math Masters” program at Felix Cook Jr. Elementary School in partnership with the Houston Independent School District, which rewarded students who maintained high grades in Mathematics during the 2008-2009 school year. World Peace also helped Congresswoman Napolitano launch "The Mental Health in Schools Act" in Fall 2010 by participating in a mental health training program and visiting schools which were a part of the Mental Health in Schools Act's pilot program. World Peace made at trip to Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. in February 2011 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, schools and libraries 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 on the importance of getting a college education.