Both the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers were culprits of the infamous “Malice at the Palace” brawl. But whenever we delve into it, some say it was Ron Artest’s fault, while others blame the then-Pistons head coach Larry Brown for not resting his star player when the game was already a blowout.
Looking back at that night, Metta Sandiford-Artest, formerly Ron Artest, says he would still foul Wallace on his way to the basket.
Not one bit would change
As we can all remember, it was Artest who hard-fouled Pistons’ big man Ben Wallace. As expected, “Big Ben” opted to hit back and shoved Artest.
Any NBA fan could conclude that had Artest decided just to let Wallace go, then there would be no Malice at the Palace. However, the man himself begged to disagree.
Sandiford-Artest is certain he would still hack Wallace on the way to the basket if he could do it again simply because that’s how he was wired as a player.
“I would foul Ben Wallace again. Absolutely,” Sandiford-Artest told GQ in 2019. “You know why? Because you play hard all the time. It’s very important. If I’m down 30, and the other player wants to shoot, whatever man. Shoot the ball. Some people get upset because somebody shoots the ball. You play hard until the end. There’s only one way.”
Ron should’ve just fought Ben
In all fairness to Metta, his excuse was somehow valid as there are players who really play hard all the time and if a fight would break out in the process, then let it be. That was also what former Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups thought.
Billups said fights happen in the NBA, but fans should never be involved at all costs. For “Mr. Big Shot,” Artest should’ve just hit back the moment Wallace shoved him.
“If Ron [Artest] would have just fought the dude that wanted to fight him, it wouldn’t have been no Malice at the Palace,” Billups assessed. “We’d gave the people what they wanted. Just fight the dude [Wallace] that grabs you on your neck. If he’d just done that, we wouldn’t be talking about it, we’d just be like, ‘Damn, they boys got at it.’ That’s it, which is what the league used to be anyway. But that didn’t happen.”
Unfortunately, we can't turn back the hands of time. And we can only imagine how things would’ve played out had one of the main casts of Malice at the Palace didn’t do what he did or vice versa.