A Look at the NBA's Most Infamous Brawl

Published on November 27th, 2021 1:00 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Malice at the Palice - The infamous brawl between players and fans during a NBA match featuring Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. On November 19th of every year, NBA fans recall the greatest brawl in NBA history - the "Malice at the Palace".

This brawl was so profound and so epic that it actually led to the NBA implementing several new rules for its franchises, including increasing the amount of security between players and fans, as well as limiting the sale of alcohol.

The "Malice at the Palace" resulted in suspensions, fines and even assault charges.


On November 19th, 2004, the Indiana Pacers travelled to Detroit to take on the Pistons.

The two teams had some history, as they had met in the Eastern Conference Finals the year before, with the Pistons winning in six games.

Both teams were known for their bruising defensive play, and the game on November 19th, 2004 would be no different.


There were just 45.9 seconds left in the game on November 19th, with the Pacers leading comfortably by a score of 97-82.

For some reason, the starters were still in the game.

Pistons centre Ben Wallace went up for a layup and was fouled by Ron Artest, who was known for frustrating offensive players.

Wallace took offense to this late foul and shoved Artest, which led to a fight between the players. Nothing crazy, right?

As things were starting to calm down, a fan (John Green) threw a drink at Artest.

Artest, who was lying on the scorer's table at the time, was enraged and flew into the stands.

Artest grabbed the wrong fan (Michael Ryan) and punches started getting thrown, leading to a full-on brawl involving players and fans.

Other Pacers players went into the stands to fight fans and rescue their own teammates from the escalating situation.

Other fans entered the melee, which led to Pacers' players such as Anthony Johnson and Jermaine O'Neal getting into fights as well.

The referees eventually called the game and demanded that both teams leave the court. As the Pacers left, they were showered by beer, soda and everything else that wasn't nailed down.


Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal, Anthony Johnson and David Harrison would all face assault charges. All received one year's probation in the end.

Ron Artest would be suspended for the remainder of the NBA season, which ended up being a total of 86 games including the playoffs.

Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal, Ben Wallace and Anthony Johnson would all receive lengthy suspensions, ranging from 5-30 games.

In total, players lost a cumulative $11 million in salary.

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