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Remembering the Worst Night in NBA History: The Malice at the Palace

Posted by Nathan S. on 03/03/12 | Filed under Features, NBA
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It's been almost eight years since unarguably the worst incident in modern sports history, but as bad as the Pistons/Paces/fan brawl (aka the Malice at the Palace) was, time has already started to turn that horrific night into just another "remember that time when..."

That's why Grantland's oral history on the brawl is a must read. Better than any piece I've ever read, it really conveys the severity of the night. From the players and coaches perspective, they truly felt like they were fighting for their lives.

Video, standout quotes and a link to the full piece are below. Seriously though, that shit was fucking pistachios.

Jermaine O'Neal: As bad as it looked on TV, it was at least 20 times worse in person.

Tim Donaghy (referee)
: It was just mayhem, to the point where you actually feared for your life. We didn't know at that point if somebody was going to pull a gun or a knife. Fans were coming out onto the floor and challenging players to fights right out on the floor. It was at a level that I've never seen before.

Jim Gray (media) : That one guy would have gotten killed if Jermaine O'Neal would have hit him. He was lucky he slipped.

Stephen Jackson: I didn't see it, but you could hear it. Out of all the noise in the arena, you still heard that punch.

Wilson: For that one moment you're thinking, My God. He's going to kill this guy.

Mike Brown (assistant coach, Pacers): I know my clothes were messed up, I can't remember if I was cut under my eye. I wouldn't be surprised if I was. As soon as I could, I called my wife because she was scared to death because she saw me go up in the stands. I needed to make sure she knew I was OK.

Steve Angel (cameraman, ESPN)
: I saw one person out of the corner of my eye to the left of my frame leaving and it was Artest. So I just stayed with him. He looked very bewildered, like, "What's going on here?" Like he'd snapped, basically.

Daniel Artest (Ron Artest's brother)
: I talked to Ron like 10 minutes after everything happened. It was just like a regular conversation. He said, "They threw something at me, so I went into the stands and handled it." That's the way we were talking.

Jim Gray (media): They were trying to arrest Artest. Kevin O'Neill really did an unbelievable job that night. He dealt with the police and they rushed [Artest] out on the bus.

Kevin O'Neill (assistant coach, Pacers): I did do that. It was nothing. They were wondering where Ronnie was. Ronnie was already on the bus, headed out, and that's all it was.

Stephen Jackson: After we calmed down, [Artest] looked at me like, "Jack, you think we going to get in trouble?" Jamaal Tinsley fell out laughing. I said, "Are you serious, bro? Trouble? Ron, we'll be lucky if we have a freaking job." That lets me know he wasn't in his right mind, to ask that question.

I highly recommend clicking here to read the full article. Enjoy.

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