In recent years with ballers changing their name to monikers like Ochocinco and Metta World Peace, it's easy to forget that there were athletes before them who legally changed their names for beliefs deeper than their jersey number or "to inspire and bring youth together all around the world." Right, Ron. Or Metta. Whatever.
Anyaway, in 1971, Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the day after the Bucks won the NBA championship. The Muslim name means "generous servant of the mighty one." When asked about the reasoning behind the change he stated that Alcindor was the name of a French planter who brought his family to America as slaves. "When I was a kid, no one would believe anything positive that you could say about black people. And that's a terrible burden on black people, because they don't have an accurate idea of their history, which has been either suppressed or distorted." Abdul-Jabbar would become one of the most-widely recognized Muslim athletes in sports history and write books such as Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement, Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, and On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance.