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The Malice at the Palace

This was one of the ugliest, worst brawls in NBA sports history.

By Gladys W. MuturiPublished 9 days ago 4 min read

It was the ugliest messy NBA brawl in basketball history where a player fighting player, fans fighting players, and players fighting fans. Sure the fight may look comical but behind the incident, it leads to the NBA players' suspension, fines, and lawsuits. The infamous event would be called the MALICE AT THE PALACE.

November 19, 2004 (19 years ago)

It was the night of November 19, 2004, at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons were competing in one of the first games of the NBA season. Among the players were Artest aka Metta World Peace, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal playing for the Indiana Pacers, and Ben Wallace who was playing for the Detroit Pistons. The Pacers were leading 97-82 with 45.9 seconds remaining in this matchup between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference when Artest blocks Wallace. A furious Wallace shoves Artest while The Pacers team and the Pistons team went at it. Referees, Pacer coach, and Reggie Miller who was benched because of his injury try to stop the fight. Artest lies down on the scorer's table trying to calm down until a cup is thrown by John Green, a fan of the Pistons, the cup flies launching at Artest in the face. Artest grew angry and goes beating up Michael Ryan who he believes threw the cup. Jackson goes up to stop and punches another fan for throwing a drink at Artest. More Pacers players tried to get Jackson and Artest off the stands and break up the fight. A Fan calls 911 when the brawl happens. As Artest gets off the stands, two Piston fans: A.J. Shackleford and Charlie Haddad stand at the court facing Artest. Artest punched Shackleford then Haddad and Shackleford beat up Artest, Pacers team, coaches, and referees to stop the fight again and escort them off the court. O'Neal slips at them nearly missing one of them.

The cops arrived at the Palace trying to get the players out of the court and stop the brawl. According to Miller, a cop tried to mace Artest but the cop later denies trying to mace Artest. Miller yells at the cop who tried to mace Artest to get all fans out of the game. Piston fans booed at Artest while Miller and Chuck Pearson were escorting him out and started throwing popcorn while were exiting the court. As seen on camera, Jackson didn't care and throw his arms up luring the Piston fans to throw popcorn and drinks. More fans start throwing drinks and popcorn at the players as they were escorted to the locker. As seen on camera a fan throws a folding chair nearly hitting O'Neal and other fans who were in the stands. Luckily, no one was hurt including O'Neal until more drinks were poured on O'Neal when he was entering the locker room. Game called with 45.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter leaving the Pacers in the lead. The brawl made national news and sports news.

The Associated Press called it "the most infamous brawl in NBA history." The journalists' media and newspapers called all the NBA players "thugs" even comparing the whole incident to hip-hop music and blaming the NBA players instead of the fan who started throwing the cup at Artest and limited security at the Palace. The blame was on both sides most definitely on the players.

All five players were suspended: Artest received the most suspension, Jackson was suspended for 30 games, O'Neal was suspended for 25 games but later was reduced to 15 games, Wallace was suspended for 6 games, and other players including Miller were given less suspension. All five players who were charged pleaded no contest to the charges. In September 2005, Artest, Jackson, and O'Neal were all sentenced to one year on probation, 60 hours of community service, a $250 fine, and anger management counseling.

As for the fans, Green and Haddad were banned from sports events at the Palace and were issued for their refunds. The worst part was that Green was interviewed by ESPN and apologized for the incident. Haddad and Shackleford, who entered the court during the fight were charged with trespassing but Haddad was hit with a swollen on his lip.

The person who threw the chair nearly hitting O'Neal was identified as Bryant Jackson was charged with felony assault and was also banned. Jackson pleaded no contest and was sentenced to two years probation. Other fans who threw popcorn and drinks at the Pacers were banned as well.

In 2005, a year after the brawl, Miller retired from the Pacers, Artest was lifted from his suspension and was traded to the Sacramento Kings. Wallace was traded to the Chicago Bulls, then Cleveland Cavaliers, then back to the Pistons until he retired in 2012, Jackson was traded to Golden State Warriors but served a seven-game suspension at the beginning of the NBA Warrior season after he had an altercation with the Pacer players at a night club, and O' Neal was traded to Raptors decades after.

Years after the Palace, all the former NBA players had retired and have spoken about the infamous event in every sports interview and podcast interview. Artest and Wallace had reunited at the Lakers-Pistons as a sign of peace between the two. Artest also forgave the guy who threw the cup at him which Jackson wasn't fond of it. In October 2017, the Palace shut down its doors and was demolished in 2020.

The Palace now demolished

In 2021, Netflix a documentary this time all the former NBA players who were playing at the Palace and silenced to speak out breaks down the whole event.

The Netflix documentary was groundbreaking and I was glad they were telling their sides of the story behind the horrid incident.



Netflix- Untold: Malice at the Palace








About the Creator

Gladys W. Muturi

Hello, My name is Gladys W. Muturi. I am an Actress, Writer, Filmmaker, Producer, and Mother of 1.

Instagram: @gladys_muturi95

Twitter: @gladys_muturi

Facebook: facebook.com/gladystheactress



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