Skip to main content

Top 10 NBA Players Who Changed Their Names


We complete a list of every player who changed their name (while they were an active player).

The format is: changed name (pre-change name), date of change, reason (if given).

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor), 5/1/1971 (the day after the Bucks won their lone NBA title), religious reasons (Islam)


Jamaal Wilkes (Keith Wilkes), 7/26/1975, religious reasons (Islam) (NOTE: officially changed name to Jamaal Abdul-Lateef but continued to use the surname "Wilkes" for purposes of public recognition)

Photo by Ronald C.  Modra/  Getty Images

Photo by Ronald C. Modra/ Getty Images

World B. Free (Lloyd B. Free), 12/8/1981, high school nickname


Hakeem Olajuwon (Akeem Olajuwon), 3/9/1991, "I'm not changing the spelling of my name, I'm correcting it."


Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Chris Jackson), Spring 1993, religious reasons (Islam)


Bison Dele (Brian Williams), 1998, "to honor his Cherokee and African heritage"

Brian Williams Bulls

Nenê (Maybyner Hilario), 8/2003, nickname


Metta World Peace (Ron Artest), 9/16/2011, "Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world"


Jeff Ayres (Jeff Pendergraph), 8/2013, changed from stepfather's surname to biological father's surname


Henry Walker (Bill Walker), 1/2014, switched to middle name from the first name



Is Kevin Durant in the prime of his life?