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November 19

NBA players and fans brawl at infamous "Malice at the Palace" game

On November 19, 2004, Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers jumps into the stands to confront a Detroit Pistons fan who throws a drink at him as he rests on the scorers' table. This ignites what becomes known as "Malice at the Palace," one of the more infamous moments in sports history.

The game at the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit—a rematch of the previous season's Eastern Conference Finals—was expected to be physical. 

With roughly 46 seconds left and Indiana ahead, 97-82, Artest fouled Detroit's Ben Wallace, who shoved Artest, leading players and coaches from both teams to confront each other on the court. To calm himself, Artest lay on the scorers' table. Then a fan threw a cup of beer, hitting Artest.

Artest ran into the crowd, followed by his teammate, Stephen Jackson, leading to a chaotic scene. Artest and the Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal swung at two fans who rushed to the court. The remaining 45.9 seconds were never played.

In the locker room, Artest asked Jackson a strange question.

"After we calmed down, [Artest] looked at me like, 'Jack, you think we going to get in trouble?'" Jackson told Grantland in 2012. "Jamaal Tinsley fell out laughing. I said, 'Are you serious, bro? Trouble? Ron, we'll be lucky if we have a freaking job.'

NBA commissioner David Stern suspended Artest for the remainder of the season, 73 games. Jackson (30 games), O'Neal (25) and Anthony Johnson (five) also were suspended. Wallace, whose shove started the brawl, received a six-game suspension. Other players received one-game suspensions for leaving their bench. 

Artest, who changed his name to Metta World Peace, played his final game in the NBA in 2017. He befriended the man who threw the cup of beer at him. 


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