There are three events that I will never forget where I was when they happened, the first two, are watching the Cubs win the World Series and the Lakers dominate the Orlando Magic to win the NBA Finals.
The third event would have to be the Malace at the Palace, where Indiana Pacer Ron Artest when into the stands and started to fight with a Detroit Piston fan. Artest did this because the fan threw something at him, while laying on the scorer’s table.
This act enraged Artest and as a result went into the crowd towards the fan, but this wouldn’t of happened if there wasn’t a foul right before. With :45 left, the Pacers led the Pistons 97-82, Artest fouled Piston big man Ben Wallace.
Wallace took acceptation to this and a fight broke out between both teams, after it was broken up the famous incident happened. Once, Artest got into the stands he tackled a fan as other fans jumped in.
During this time both teams and security tried to stop the fight but that just added fuel to the fire. His teammate Stephen Jackson punched a fan who threw some type of liquid at Artest during the fight.
Then another fight started in front of the Pistons bench, fans then started to throw bottles on the court. This prompted the Pacers to head to their locker room, on the way other Pistons fans threw popcorn and other objects at them.
As a result of this the referees decided to end the game right then there, Then the fans where instructed to stop throwing objects and to leave the building.
For this incident the NBA suspended nine players and lead to the players losing $11 million in salary. Artest took the blunt of the suspension’s, as he was suspended for the remainder of the year and lost $4.995 millon in salary.
Jackson and Pacers big man Jermaine O’Neal received huge fines and suspensions. O’Neal was suspended for 15 games and forfeited $4.1 million of his salary, while Jackson got a 30 game suspension and lost $1.7 million of his salary.
Pacer players weren’t the only ones who got fined and suspended, Wallace received a 6 game suspension with lost $600,000 in salary. For the fans who were involved in the provoking and the fight itself, they were banned from attending events at Palace at Auburn owned properties.
Five fans were also legally charged, John Ackerman, John Green, William Paulson, Bryant Jackson and David Wallace were all charged with assault. Bryant revived a felony assault because he threw a chair, the others received misdemeanors.
The only players to receive legal charges were Artest, Jackson, O’Neal and Pacer guard Antony Johnson. They all had a $250 fine and a year of probation, while not a single Piston was legally charged.
Which is weird as I said both teams were in the stands pushing others to stop the fight that was technically started due to the Pistons.
Also find it weird the fans got more of a punishment than the players, what’s a few millon dollars compared to some ones’ livelihood.