Former Indiana Pacers player Metta World Peace wrote on Twitter, “In my lifetime, I would love to see the Pacers win a title. It would be a big reliever for me.”
The player formerly known as Ron Artest may still be feeling guilty about how the Malice at the Palace likely cost the Pacers their best chance at an NBA title. It’s not hard to see why them eventually winning a championship would be a relief to him.
Indiana looked poised to finally overcome the Detroit Pistons that year and had blown them out on their home floor on that infamous November night. One hard foul, a large scuffle and a tossed cup later, World Peace and Stephen Jackson were in the stands fighting the opposing team’s fans. Jermaine O’Neal punched people that came onto the court. Chaos ensued as the team tried to make it back to the locker room. One of the darkest moments not only in Pacers history but in the NBA’s.
There are countless things that could have prevented that night from happening: Why were the starters still playing at that point in the game? Why was Artest fouling that hard with the game decided? The referees lost control of the game. Ben Wallace was dealing with a death in his personal life. None of it happens if the fan doesn’t throw the beverage or Artest finds any other way to react to getting hit.
Instead multiple Pacers were suspended including World Peace, who was done for an entire season and would end up requesting a trade during the following year. Reggie Miller’s last chance at a championship gone.
A documentary from Showtime about Artest will feature footage of the Brawl.