Hello my friends.
I am writing to you with a heavy heart. The months and weeks leading up to today have been difficult and trying for me and only in the last 24 hours have I come to the realization that, while I like who I am, I do not like what I am called. This is why, starting today, I request that all parties concerned begin to address me as Maximus Juan Barea.
I know this will come as a shock to many of my fans. Please know that this decision did not come without a great deal of thought to how it would affect not only myself, but also all of you. I do not take lightly the love you have shown me in my time in the league and it is my hope and prayer that love does not fade.
The reasons for this change are many and, for time and secrecy’s sake, I will choose to not divulge a majority of them. However, I will tell you that one of the main reasons is because of the movie Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott. It is my favorite movie in the whole wide world and, from the moment I heard that name more than a decade ago, it was one that spoke to me on a level perhaps even beyond the spiritual. It inspires fear and respect and, in the words of Maximus Decimus, is one of “strength and honor”. I will do my best to uphold those ideals for the rest of my days.
My diminutive stature has been something that I have had to overcome for some time now. Those that have not seen me play before look on me with laughter when I introduce myself as J.J. and tell them I play in the National Basketball Association. They make jokes and ask if I am a ball boy or one of the halftime performers that leap off trampolines trying to dunk a basketball. No more. It is my goal that this new name will limit such reactions in the future. They will hear the name Maximus and they will know that I am powerful and capable and one to be feared.
I would also request that you do not call me ‘M.J.’ as the king of our sport and the greatest of all time bears those initials. I do not wish for people to confuse the two of us and then all of a sudden start watching Timberwolves games only to be disappointed when they realize it is me and not 50 year old Jordan the media was speaking of. Too many children would be upset and one thing that hasn’t changed at all about me is that I am still all about the children.
Ultimately, I am the same me that I have always been. I am still a proud Puerto Rican man, this does not change that. I will still run the pick and roll with a surprising amount of precision. I will still shoot runners with regularity. I will still embellish my reactions to any and all physical contact both offensively and defensively. The only thing changing, my friends, is the name.
I thank you for your time today. Again, this is effective immediately. Please honor my request and adhere to it because dear God you actually call Artest ‘Meta World Peace’ so why can’t you do the same for me?
What we do in life echoes in eternity,
Maximus Juan Barea.