You are listening to The Interesting World of Sports podcast with your host(s) Dylan Yasher, and Connor Batcha.
In this episode of the Podcast we will be discussing: what led up to the fight, the game and fight itself, and the aftermath.
Segment 1: What led up to the fight
The date is November 19 2004 and the Indiana Pacers are playing the Detroit pistons.
The Pistons ended the Pacers amazing 2003-2004 season after eliminating them in the playoffs
The Pacers felt like that was their Championship, they came out fired up for the 04 - 05 season
One player however, was a ticking time bomb. He was known for his unusual behavior, that included fighting opponents, smashing TV cameras, applying for a job at Circuit City so he could get an employee discount, and even asking for time off from the NBA season to promote his rap album. That man would be 6’7 Ron Artest
The 24 year old Artest surpassed the Pistons Ben Wallace to win 2004 defensive player of the Year so a rivalry was already brewing.
Like we mentioned, the Pacers came out fired up for the 04-05 season. That included Artest more than anyone, and he was playing like an MVP to start off the new season
The Pacers wanted to show that they were the better team, and with just 45 seconds left in the game, they were up by double digits, the game was pretty much over
And that's when Ron Artest put up a big foul on Pistons All-Star Center, Ben Wallace and everything went south.
Segment 2: The game and fight
While players and refs were trying to defuse the situation ron artest is seen lying down on the scores table and putting on the announcer's headset which fits right in with his personality.
At this point, Artest has done nothing other than foul Ben Wallace
The refs, Ron Garretson, Tommy Nunez, and Tim Donaghy did a poor job managing the situation
At that moment, the teammates of Artest and Wallace seemed to have settled things down
That's when am angry fan threw their drink at a calmed down Ron Artest
If he were to engage this fan it could spell then end to the Pacers season. Its crucial that he is calmed down for the whole team's sake.
That's when Artest lost it,with no one to hold him back he jumped onto the scores table and into the stand throwing punches and attacking any fan that got in his way. (Audio)
Artest was already on the leagues bad side for multiple suspensions for fighting, on the court, however the punishment for going into the stands is much more severe. If his teammates joined in, it could wreck the season.
Sure enough 6’8 guard Stephen Jackson headed for the stands alongside Artest. The entire time this is happening fans are throwing bottles filled with liquid onto the court and at players. After Artest is pulled away they tryto bring him through the tunnel and into the lockerroom. Fans dumped entire bottles on him and chased him into the tunnel. Announcer John Mason summed itupbest when he said, there are no winners in this scenario.
Remember this all happened with under a minute left in the game, so the officials wisely ended the game arly, without playing the remaining time.
Officials pleaded with fans to stop throwing items and engaging in fights. No post game press conferences were held before all players had left the arena.
The Pacers woud win 97 -82, but at what cost
Segment 3: The aftermath
The fallout of the Malice at the Palace. Overall, nine players were suspended for a total of 146 games, meaning $11 million in total lost salary.
Artest was by far punished the hardest, sitting out the rest of the season (73 regular-season games and 13 playoff games) and losing nearly $5 million in unearned salary.
Five players were charged with assault, and eventually sentenced to a year of probation and community service.