As of Wednesday, it’s been 10 years since the Malice in the Palace, a vicious sequence of events that went from on-the-court chippy play, to an all-out brawl in the stands.
It was terrifying and brutal.
Indiana led Detroit, 97-82, as the game wound down. Pistons forward Ben Wallace took a hard foul, then came at Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) with a hard shove.
Things appeared to calm as the teams separated and the altercation seemed to dissolve into shoving and yelling.
Then Stephen Jackson untucked his jersey and squared up, ready for a fight. With Artest on the scorer’s table, presumably away from any danger, he was hit with a beer and a plastic cup and absolutely lost his mind. Artest entered the stands to find the culprit, then Jackson entered the fracas and swung on fans. The crowd erupted in a riot mentality, throwing anything they could find. Some stepped onto the court, others attacked the players with objects and fists.
Watching it in retrospect is horrifying.
10 years ago, the NBA changed. It was a vicious mix of the wrong people at the wrong time in the wrong situation.
With strict rules now in place — for spectators and players — it’s unlikely we’ll see anything like this ever again.