An Oral History of the Infamous ‘Malice in the Palace’

An interesting, well-done, and surprisingly bipartisan piece about the 2004 Malice in the Palace between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers (From our pals over at Grantland, no less!).  I actually remember watching this live in my dorm room as a freshman in college. Link to the story here.

The full story is incredibly long, so if you don’t have the time, here are the highlights:

Lindsey Hunter (Pistons Guard): I was trying to stop Rip (Richard Hamilton, Pistons Guard) because Rip was like 140 pounds and that’s my guy, my little brother. Like, “Rip, sit down. Get out the way before you get hurt out here.” And Derrick Coleman (Pistons Forward) is like, “Come on, let’s get these guys out [of here].” So I walk out there and that’s when Stephen walked up and started saying stuff. And, listen, I box. I’m too old to be fighting or whatever, and I’m like, “I’m not fitting to fight out here in front of all these people.” But I’ve been boxing for nine, 10 years, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.

Right, Lindsey Hunter, you box.  We get it.  Let the small children sort out their differences as you sit back and judge them with a condescending shake of your head.  Anyone who says they don’t want to get into a fight because they don’t want to hurt someone (unless they are a professional fighter, which our friend Lindsey here is clearly not) is not someone who you should be worried about hurting anyone in a fight.

Steve Angel (ESPN cameraman): The only time I felt I was about to get hurt was when a policeman popped his pepper spray container and started shaking it up. Reggie Miller was pleading with him, “Please don’t. My suit costs x-hundred dollars.”

Of course Reggie Miller would think to worry about the police officer’s pepper spray ruining his suit above everything else instead of, you know, eyeballs, or something wacky like that.

Charlie Haddad (the fan O’Neal punched): I barely remember the night.

This is, of course, the fan that Jermaine O’Neal slid/superman punched in front of the Pacers’ bench.  An interesting footnote attached:

O’Neal said he learned of this (Haddad had threatened Yao MIng prior to this incident) in his court cases. The Detroit News reported in 2005, “One fan who filed a federal suit against the Pacers and two players for assault had a history of alleged incidents at the Palace. He threatened to pour a drink on Houston Rockets star Yao Ming at a game earlier in November. That fan, Charlie Haddad, was banned Dec. 2 from the Palace. He was confronted at half-time during the Nov. 19 game with the Pacers by Palace security officials.”

So Mr. Haddad doesn’t remember that night?  How CONVENIENT.  Is it because he was too hammered?  Or did Jermaine O’Neal EXPLODE THE MEMORIES RIGHT OUT OF HIM?  Looks like we’ll never know.

The whole article is worth reading if you have the time.  And also for your viewing pleasure (and to sync up the quotes to actual action), I give you the video.  Thanks Google!

Update: I promise I didn’t rip this off Deadspin.  Although it may seem like it.

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