Athletes aren’t tied down to their names. Look at Metta World Peace. He started as Ron Artest and now he wants to be called “The Panda Friend” (that one’s only temporary though).
Muhammad Ali is probably the most popular professional athlete to change his name. He was born Cassius Clay and famously became “Muhammad Ali” in 1964, after joining the Nation of Islam.
The new name and religion came with a refusal to enlist in the military. Ali was subsequently suspended from boxing for a year, and fined $10,000—all because of his unwillingness to fight in the Vietnam War.
Beyond Ali, Karim Abdul-Jabbar is another athlete known to have changed his name for religious regions, and there are more with him.
See 10 examples of athletes who changed their name for religion, and more, in the gallery below.
Photo: BMI/AP Photo/Matt Sayles