Much to the chagrin of David Stern, Nov. 19, 2004 will remain a seminal moment in NBA history. On that night a scuffle between the Detroit Pistons and Pacers at the Palace of Auburn Hills metastasized into a melee including NBA players and fans.
The incident widely known as the "Malice at the Palace" began in the waning moments of an early-season tilt between two clubs with designs on representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. The Pacers had been the only team in the NBA to rack up more than 60 wins the season before, but the Pistons had captured the Larry O'Brien Trophy, besting the star-studded Lakers with a team-first approach.
With the Pistons leading 97-82 in the final minute, Indiana's Ron Artest delivered a hard foul to keep Ben Wallace from adding an easy layup to the home team's tally. The Detroit center retaliated, shoving Artest hard toward the scorer's table. An official immediately jumped between the two players, but Wallace pursued Artest as he backpedaled. Predictably, players from both sides rushed toward the action. Some players and coaches attempted to keep the peace while others barked with ill intentions. Attempting to extricate himself from the scrum, Artest sat up -- and then laid down -- on the scorer's table as referees and coaches dispersed the crowd on the court.
Here is where the script diverted from your run-of-the-mill, post-foul arguing.
With Artest still on the scorer's table, a fan threw a drink at him. Artest went into the stands and the NBA would never be the same. Pacers teammate Stephen Jackson eventually followed him. Punches were thrown. Jerseys were pulled. It got ugly -- and it stayed ugly for far too long. After players crossed the threshold into the stands, fans encroached on the court. One of them got leveled by Jermaine O'Neal. The Indiana players were showered with food and drinks. A chair was thrown at them as they tried to exit the court.
WATCH VIDEO ABOVE
The aftermath? Artest was suspended for the rest of the season (73 regular season, 13 playoff games). Jackson was suspended for 30 games. O'Neal got 15 (initially set at 25). Ben Wallace got six. Several others including Reggie Miller who didn't play due to injury got suspended for one game. Indiana, a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference at the time, eventually turned into a lottery team.
In response, the NBA altered security measures, implemented a code of conduct for fans and a fourth-quarter ban on beer sales in an attempt to salvage its image.
Nearly a decade later, some of the fans involved have not since set foot in the Palace. The players have largely moved on. Several are retired, others play for different teams. Ron Artest is now Metta World Peace but every errant elbow is viewed through the prism of the Palace.
Here is a brief roundup of the key figures of this infamous moment in NBA history.
Metta World Peace
Well, there's the name. Ron Artest changed to Metta World Peace. He went from Indiana to Sacramento to Houston and now he's on the Los Angeles Lakers where he has won an NBA title and delivered a few elbows.
Stephen Jackson has been a journeyman since his tenure in Indiana, playing for four different teams including where he is now with the San Antonio Spurs. He has played an integral role on a few playoff teams, including Golden State's incredible run in 2007.
After spending some more time with Indiana after the brawl, O'Neal went to Miami in 2008, then moved around to Torono, Boston and now he currently plays on the Phoenix Suns.
Ben Wallace said he was going to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/ben-wallace-detroit-pistons-retiring-season_n_1274130.html">retire after last season</a>. But according to the Boston Globe, the center has indicated that he <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/09/09/grant-hill-hasn-given-dream-championship/uYoMkuNNcCBZVYcYdEJJxH/story.html?s_campaign=sm_tw">wants to return to the NBA. </a>
Chauncey Billups spent some time in Denver and the Big Apple, but is now playing with Chris Paul in L.A. with the Clippers. He is looking to come back from a <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-clippers-20121018,0,3253577.story">torn Achilles' tendon in late November. </a>
Reggie Miller retired after the 04-05 season and is now a broadcaster for TNT.
After a couple years out of the league, Sheed returned to the NBA before the 2012-13 season and plays for the New York Knicks.
Hamilton remained in Detroit until the 2011-12 season when he signed with Chicago.
Anthony Johnson retired after the <a href="http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnsan02.html">2009-2010 season.</a>
Elden Campbell retired after the 2004-2005 season.
Charlie Haddad (Fan Jermaine O'Neal Punched)
Charlie Haddad was <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1935965">banned </a>from events at The Palace. According to Grantland, O'Neal was ordered to pay <a href="http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7612311/view/full/an-oral-history-malice-palace">$1,686.50 in restitution to Haddad.</a>
John Green (Fan Who Threw Drink At Artest)
Green was found guilty of assault and battery for punching Artest, sentenced to thirty days in jail, two years probation and was <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/the-afternath-pacers-pistons-brawl-suspensions-2891751.html">banned from all Pistons games for life. </a>
Bryant Jackson was sentenced to <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2005-05-03-fan-probation_x.htm">two years of probation</a> for throwing a chair at the Pacers players as they exited the floor.