On November 19th, 2004, at the end of a blowout between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons, the unthinkable happened. A skirmish on the floor between Ron Artest and Ben Wallace carried over into the stands. What followed was arguably the ugliest incident in sports history as fans and players traded punches in what was ultimately known as ‘The Malice At The Palace.’
Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal and the aforementioned Ron Artest served lengthy suspensions and paid hefty fines as a result of the incident. Several fans received probation, community service and were banned from The Palace for life.
Here are 10 things you probably didn’t about the Malice at the Palace.
Derrick Coleman to Stephen Jackson: “I will kill you.”
We spoke with Matt Dery, who served as the sports director for WDFN The Fan (the Pistons flagship station) from 1996-2009. Dery was sitting courtside when the brawl occurred and offered up this amazing anecdote.
While Artest and Wallace went toe-to-toe at mid-court, Stephen Jackson began taunting the Pistons bench. In the video you can see him jawing with Richard Hamilton and Lindsey Hunter and at one point, he started shadow boxing.
At the end of the Pistons bench stood 6’10” Derrick Coleman, who was winding down his career in Detroit. Coleman was a legend in the city having played his high school ball at Detroit Northern. He wasn’t a guy you messed with, he wasn’t a guy who said “hold me back” during a fight. If he said it, he meant it and he was serious.
As Jackson continued to taunt players, Coleman finally stepped in and calmly told him: “I’ll kill you. I will kill you.”
Dery says he could hear Coleman loud and clear from his position. Nothing of course came of that altercation because, moments later, the cup hit Artest and all hell broke loose.