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Grantland has a really interesting article up discussing the brawl at the palace. It's a collection of interviews with all of the people involved. Some pretty interesting takes on it that I haven't heard before.
An oral history of the scariest moment in NBA history.
I enjoyed reading it. The most interesting thing to me is that it seems that Artest actually blacked out and didn't think he did anything wrong.
"Malice at the Palace" still makes me mentally check out. What a needy, hacky move by the media. Not everything HAS to rhyme, lol.
Reggie Miller was pleading with him, "Please don't. My suit costs x-hundred dollars."
I like that there is a guy in the story named Forcier screwing things up.
They should make it into a movie.
I remember watching that game and the Pacers were killing the Pistons so with about 1 minute left my wife says "let's go get some ice cream" and we turned the game off. If only I'd waited about 5 more minutes!
Funny thing about Artest is that friends who know him now and when he was in college said that off the court he's pretty quiet and very polite. However, once he steps between the lines he turned into a psycho. Basketball was his way out of the projects and he's never lost that intensity he developed as a kid and only recently has started to control it.
This post was edited by Enrico Palazzo 2 years ago
"If you have the right to be offended I have the right to offend you." - Ricky Gervais
It was a one sided article...to the Pacers side. I don't think both sides were presented equally.
Stephen Jackson trying to show himself as the guy trying to break it up?? What?
...and Jim Gray saying its was 100% on the Pistons and the fans at the Palace.
He's still traumatized. The thing I remember the most about that night is the camera cutting to Gray who looked like he was on the verge of bursting into tears.
Jim Gray is a turd. Fact.
Outside of the Jim Gray quote, which I thought was complete one-sided BS (and only added to my hate of Jim Gray), I thought it was a good article.
At the end of the day, it was a brawl between the Pacers and fans at the Palace.
Sure, there was a point when the Big Ben and Artest were scrapping and when the teams were facing off against each other at half-court. But once the drink was thrown from the stands, it turned into a fans vs. the Pacers fight. The Pistons were largely bystanders at that point.
Are some of the accounts self-serving? Of course. But that's the nature of this sort of thing. And yeah, Detroit fans end up looking pretty crappy, but frankly that's deserved. They're the ones who were dumping drinks and throwing coins at the players as they left, and going on the court to fight the players. I certainly wouldn't imply that all Detroit fans are bad (and I think the article was clear that even those involved thought it was a few bad apples), but those who behaved badly on that night have a pretty big responsibility for making the rest of us look bad by association.
My favorite bits from the article:
1. Mahorn: "You do what you gotta do sometimes in life."
2. Blaha, on Laimbeer: "Bill Laimbeer and I were broadcasting the game down by the Pistons bench. Everything happened on the other end of press row. And the reason I wasn't particularly shook up about it is because Bill Laimbeer didn't seem to be particularly bothered by it. He was kind of nonplussed by the whole thing."
The brawl was probably the only public relations war the city of Detroit has won in 50 years.
Pollard most likely did not want to get involved because he just painted his nails. His excuse about getting suspended is BS.
Also, nosebleed seats are for felons.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Turtleneck 2 years ago
Jalen Rose (forward, Toronto Raptors): My guy Wes, who seems like he's always in the right place at the right time, is a front-row season-ticket holder for the Pistons.
I'm surprised someone didn't take a swing at Laimbeer just because he was there.
It's interesting to read the comments from everyone involved (except for Jalen Rose ... wtf?), especially the player comments about the rivalry and the mood of the crowd that night. People forget about how much these teams hated each other because the Palace Brawl short-circuited the rivalry.
The article mentions that the game was within 5 in the fourth, but it never actually felt that close. They got absolutely BLOWN OUT in their own building. I think people gloss over this fact while explaining away the crowd's behavior that night as "typical drunk fans" or something like that. People connected with that team on a personal level (a team without superstars, "Goin to Work," etc.), and I think they took it personally as the Pistons were getting embarrassed on national TV -- without Miller even playing. There was definitely a weird, tense vibe in the arena as the clock ran down and the fouls got rough.
The refs were absolute dogshit for not recognizing the the intensity of the rivalry and the gravity of the situation as it developed. Donaghy and Garretson are worthless. If they'd been in there with Nunez there's a good chance none of this happens. And the Pacers' coaches were absolutely stupid for letting Artest lay on the scorer's table for that long.
This post was edited by BigDaddySpartan 2 years ago
I would have liked to see some remarks from John Saunders, who went completely overboard blaming the fans and the Pistons organization. Although he later apologized, I think his remarks had a lot to do with fanning the initial flames.
I love David Wallace's line: "When you don't have time to think about something, there's not always a thought process involved."
Don't think -- it can only hurt the ballclub
Jackson: I knew we had to get out of this arena before all these guys in the nosebleed seats got down to our section. That's the felons, the guys that really don't care about losing anything. If they come down there, somebody's going to really get hurt.
That's a pretty good read. I was at that game way in the upper bloody nose section with several of my buddies from college. By far the most memorable NBA game I've ever been to...
I think the fans got a bit of a bad rap in terms of what happened that night. There's about 15,000 to 20,000 people in that building although by that point in the game a few thousand left but there was still a decent crowd there and I still believe a sizable amount of the blame goes to Artest and to the refs. That was a somewhat heated rivalry between two of the best teams in the East and you have a player decide to more or less act a fool by lying down on a table and the refs do very little and when the fan throws the drink at him, he decides to run after him. That doesn't forgive the fan behavior that night but like so many things the actions of a small group of fans reflect the majority. Sure, there were thousands of fans screaming and shouting swear words but maybe one to two hundred people out of over 10,000+ actually started throwing things IMO.
At the very least a 30 for 30.
"What if I told you Ron Artest is crazy".
I remember my old college roommate worked at the Palace at the time...
MSU had a game that evening and I had left the MSU game to meet a couple of people at the Roadhouse Pub.
I walked in, up to the bar, ordered my beer and before I could get the beer, the fight happened....
My buddy ended up leaving the Palace and had not even got home when the fight happened despite living closer than Great Lakes Crossing.
One of his friends who worked there said that when Artest was on the scorers table, he was saying "Lick my balls, Ben, Lick my balls!!"
So the comment about "We were not going to give him a live mic at that point, no, the mic was NOT live" cracked me up.
Good article - it seems like the majority of it is from the Pacers viewpoint, but as voodoochile mentioned above, the bulk of the confrontation was really between the Pistons fans and the Pacers, not the Pistons team.
Anyways, a sequence I found interesting:
Jackson: When I was walking off, they were throwing things at me. I was like, "Go ahead and throw it. Do what you have to do." I wasn't really worried about my safety because I knew I could protect myself.
Mike Brown: I don't remember how I got from the stands back onto the floor. But everybody was throwing stuff. I literally felt like there were 22 people fighting 20,000 people. I know that wasn't the case, but it was the scariest moment I've ever been a part of in my life. Next thing I know, we're back in the locker room and my clothes are soaked, ripped. Anybody who says they're not scared in my opinion is lying.
The best thing about the "Fight at the Auburn Hills Arena Where The Pistons Play Their Home Games" is that men didn't back down. They stood up and they were men.
Contrast that to the all-star game. Kobe lets Wade get away with a hard foul. No manliness out of Kobe. Just the type of crying and whining you see in The Real Housewives reality series. It's no wonder Kobe's street cred is at rock bottom levels. His handler needs to be replaced with someone who knows what they're doing...it's utter bullshit.
What is your obsession with Real Housewives? You've referenced in a few times.
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