Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, is off to play for the Chinese Basketball Association. He will be a member of the Sichuan Blue Whales for the next year, as the highest-paid foreign player to join the league, and he wanted to mark the season with his favorite thing: a ridiculous name change.
He teased the change a few days ago:
I'm changing my name for the China this season !!!! You guys will love it— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) August 1, 2014
And now China Daily is reporting his new name will be "Panda Friend." The Wire has some recommendations as to how Mr. Artest/Peace/Friend can be an A+ companion to the pandas of Sichuan.
Visit Some Pandas
When Panda Friend arrives in Sichuan, we would recommend he check out the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries. These sanctuaries house more than a third of the world's pandas. It looks like Panda Friend is already on board with this part of the plan:
First thing I am doing when I get to china will be visiting Pandas with my daughter @BabyGirl_Sade— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) July 31, 2014
Watch a Panda Cam
When Friend can't be with the pandas, we would suggest he check out some panda cams. He can check out Bao Bao the panda at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park or China Network Television Channel's panda cam. CNTC offers a 24-hour livestream of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Grow Some Bamboo
Pandas love bamboo. If you want to have some pandas over for a visit, it would be rude not to have their favorite snack available, so Panda Friend should take to tending a small bamboo patch. Or a really large bamboo patch. Panda's eat about 30 pounds of bamboo a day.
Drink Panda Poo Tea
This might sound gross, but for a true Panda Friend, it's no big deal. This green tea is made using panda poo, which is actually quite high in vitamins and minerals from bamboo because pandas only digest 30 percent of what they eat.
The tea is actually quite pricey — $35,000 a pound — but considering Panda Friend is bringing in $1.43 million playing for Sichuan this season, he can afford it.
Help Save Some Pandas
As a friend to pandas, he should help to keep these giant fluff balls alive. Right now, there are only about 1,600 pandas left in the wild. They remain on the endangered list because of "habitat fragmentation and unsustainable development."
The World Wildlife Fund offers a symbolic panda adoption program, so for just $250, Panda Friend can adopt a panda friend. In fact, he could actually adopt 5,720 panda friends with his $1.43 million salary.
Rush Alpha Omicron Pi
This Greek life association's unofficial mascot is, you guessed it, the panda. While sorority membership is usually reserved for female college students, Panda Friend could request an honorary membership, as the two share a mutual affection for pandas.
Hug A Panda
This is extremely important.