D Lippitt / Einstein / NBA Europe
Among the most significant scenes in the history of the league, Malice at the Palace is clearly among the gratin. A Hall of Famer has also recently declared that with him, the legendary fight would never have taken place! A surprising opinion, when you know the man’s CV …
It is undoubtedly the biggest fight ever seen on an NBA floor. While Detroit and Indiana clash in November 2004, an altercation between Ben Wallace and Ron Artest will degenerate to the point where even the fans will get involved! The Pacers winger will subsequently beat up a supporter in the stands, while players and referees will engage in a general scrum. « Malice at the Palace » was born:
Impressive scenes, just like the penalties that follow! Nine players were suspended for a total of 146 games, equivalent to a loss of $ 11 million in wages to the offenders. Artest also touched the palm of the biggest suspension in history on this blow, being banned from playing for no less than 86 games (regular season + playoffs). Stephen Jackson scooped him 30 non-participating games.
All this violence, a man is convinced that he could have prevented it that evening: Isiah Thomas himself. Legend of Detroit, he was also the coach of the Pacers from 2000 to 2003 (record of 131-115). Afterwards ousted by Rick Carlisle, who arrived from the… Pistons, in fact, Zeke seems to always have this move across his throat. To the point that he explained recently that with him still in office, the affair would never have taken place!
I was the coach Carlisle replaced. If I hadn’t been fired, I think I would have won a title with this team. I don’t believe there would have been Malice at the Palace, because I don’t believe the Pistons fans would have done that if I had coached this team.
If this exit sounds so strange, it is because we are more used to it being the former leader who starts the fights! Ironically, this interview with NBA TV Comes shortly after Carlisle announced his return as a coach to Indiana. 17 years later, the Hall of Famer’s grudge against the former Dallas tactician still seems tenacious!
The craziest thing about this statement from Isiah Thomas? Is that Detroit fans might not have actually behaved like this in his presence, he is such a local legend. Or else it would only have made things worse, you never know with him …