It’s been nearly two decades since the basketball world was witness to what is easily the most infamous brawl in the entire history of the NBA; The Malice At The Palace. On November 19, 2004, the Detroit Pistons hosted the Indiana Pacers in the Palace of Auburn Hills, in what would turn out to be a massive fight which did not only involve the players, but some of the home fans in attendance as well.

Given this hilariously funny anniversary (at least in hindsight), we’re here to celebrate this tomfoolery in all it’s glory. It’s time to take a gander at The Malice At The Palace.

The Malice At The Palace

The game was actually already decided, with the Pacers en route to an away victory on Detroit’s home floor. The contest had been testy all night long, and for some reason, Pacers forward Ron Artest thought it was a good idea to deliver a hard foul on Pistons big man Ben Wallace, as the latter went for what was a non-bearing lay-up in the dying seconds. This was where it all started, with Wallace shoving Artest, and eventually sparking an on-court brawl between the two teams.

As Artest was lying on the scorers’ table awaiting the referees’ decision on the incident, a fan threw a drink at the feisty swingman. Artest did not event hesitate and charged the stands, eventually ending up attacking the wrong fan. Things escalated quickly, and security had to come in to stop the skirmishes.

For those who have not yet seen the clip of this incident, prepare for some nasty action below. It is without question that this was one of the most disgraceful events in league history.

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As expected, the league would go hard on all the players involved in the fracas. Artest, being the main instigator in the entire incident, would get the worst of it, as he was suspended for the rest of the season. This would end up totaling 86 regular season and playoff games, which remains to be the league record for the lengthiest suspension ever issued on a single player. For his transgression, Ron Artest was end up losing $5 million in salary due to the suspension.

Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal of the Pacers were also handed lengthy suspension, and so was Detroit’s Wallace. All in all, the suspensions summed up to no less than 146 games in total, and more than $11 million in lost salaries.

In this day and age, the league is often criticized for becoming soft. Well, one would only need to look back at this incident to realize exactly why the NBA has made tremendous efforts to eliminate this type of violence from the beautiful sport. Nevertheless, The Malice at the Palace, featuring blood rivals in the Pistons and Pacers, will be fondly remembered by those who would love for the NBA to return to the “toughness” of yesteryear.