Utilizing some adroit footwork to stay in-bounds during a sporting event is quite a bit different than performing a quick-step dance routine before a live audience and millions of television viewers.
Ron Artist, the volatile small forward who toiled for the Los Angels Lakers last year, will find that out first hand when he participates in the 13th season of a nationally televised reality show called “Dancing with the Stars.”
Artest, who recently requested his name be changed to Metta World Peace, will be one of 12 celebrity dancers to participate in the program.
“Metta” is a Buddhist word with various definitions along the lines of “loving kindness.” That might be rather curious to some basketball fans who remember Artest sparking a huge brawl between fans and players at the Palace of Auburn Hills when he played for the Indiana Pacers in 2004.
It seems Artest wants to take on the moniker to “promote unity.” In attempts to turn his life around, he has already become an advocate for mental health issues and raising money for the cause.
Ironically, the name change has been delayed until three days before the program’s Sept. 19 debut because of Artest’s outstanding traffic tickets.
Whatever name the 31-year-old goes by, oddsmakers at BoDog sports book have made Artest and professional partner Peta Murgatroyd a 10/1underdog to capture the mirror ball trophy that goes to the winner. Murgatroyd is making her debut on the show.
Hope Solo, the only other athlete on the program, is listed as the second-choice at 5/1. Solo soared into the media spotlight when she played spectacularly in goal for the United States in this summer’s Women’s World Cup soccer championship.
Solo will be paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who partnered last season with actress Kirstie Alley.
Elisabetta Canalis, an Italian actress best known for dating George Clooney, has been installed as the 9/2 favorite. Canalis is paired with Maksim’s brother Val Chmerkovskiy, who has previously appeared on the show in dance numbers.
Chaz Bono, the former daughter of Sonny and Cher, is the long shot at 20/1. Bono, a transgender male after undergoing numerous surgeries and treatments, will be paired with Lacey Schwimmer.
The complete list of odds to win “Dancing with the Stars,” courtesy of Bodog, appears below.
Elisabetta Canalis (9/2)
Hope Solo (5/1)
Kristin Cavallari (11/2)
Robert Kardashian (15/2)
Chynna Phillips (8/1)
David Arquette (10/1)
J.R. Martinez (10/1)
Ron Artest (10/1)
Nancy Grace (18/1)
Chaz Bono (20/1)