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How a $50 bet cost Pacers arguably their best shot at an NBA title

May 18,2018 00:43

Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, recounts that incident and so many of the other odd twists and turns in his career and life in his new book: "No Malice: My Life in Basketball or How a Kid from Queensbridge Survived the Streets, the Brawls, and ...


Scott Horner, scott.horner@indystar.com Published 6:52 p.m. ET May 16, 2018 | Updated 12:20 p.m. ET May 17, 2018

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Ron Artest thought he could compete for NBA MVP in 2004-05 when he played for the Indiana Pacers, but that went down the tubes in the first month of the season.
That's when he charged into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills in the infamous "Malice at the Palace."
Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, recounts that incident and so many of the other odd twists and turns in his career and life in his new book: "No Malice: My Life in Basketball or How a Kid from Queensbridge Survived the Streets, the Brawls, and Himself to Become an NBA Champion." 
World Peace went on KPCC this week to discuss his childhood, career and struggles with mental health. 
From 2014: What happened to brawl participants
Timeline: How the brawl went from the court into court
One revelation coming out of the conversation about the brawl that took place on Nov. 19, 2004, is that the whole started as a bet between Detroit Pistons fans, one them cup thrower John Green.
"The thing was, the guy ... bet John Green that he couldn’t hit me with that cup, for $50." 
The brawl occurred in the last minute of a game the Pacers had in hand against the Detroit Pistons. Detroit's Ben Wallace didn't like a hard foul by World Peace and responded with a shove. World Peace eventually went to lay down on the scorer's table near the Pacers bench. 
"I was trying to relax a little big and not get in no trouble," World Peace said. "I was already in a lot of trouble from day one. So I’m trying to change my life a little bit. I just decided to go on the scorer’s table, relax there while there was an altercation between me and Ben Wallace."

Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest, center, enters 52nd District Judge Lisa Asadoorian's courtroom in Rochester Hills, Mich., Jan. 25, 2005. Five Pacers players charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in the brawl with Detroit fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills appeared in court Tuesday and were released on $500 personal bonds. Each of the Pacers players appeared separately for about three minutes before the judge, who met extensively with each of their lawyers before the hearing. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
 (Photo: CARLOS OSORIO, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

That's when a cup came out of the stands, setting off World Peace. He charged into the stands to fight.
"And when the fan threw the cup and it hit me in my face, I got really upset," World Peace said. "I run into the stands. I thought the guy who threw the cup, he had his hand raised when I was on the table, so that was the only person I saw. He was like laughing and having fun. I’m like, ‘All right, you hit me, so I’m going to come attack you.’ So when I go attack him, the guy who (I thought) actually hit me with the cup kind of skinnied up, hands right by his side, looking in the other direction, like, ‘It wasn’t me.’"
World Peace was suspended for the rest of that season, and the Pacers wound up trading him to Sacramento early the following season.

Ron Artest is escorted off the floor in Detroit following a brawl with Pistons fans.
 (Photo: Getty Images)

World Peace said he and Green are on good terms. 
"We have a good relationship," World Peace said. "He’s funny. He’s crazy."
A few years ago, Green said he and World Peace apologized to each other.
"Ron's a good guy," Green said during a radio interview on ESPN Los Angeles in 2012. "And you wanna know what? I like to think the same thing about myself. Yes, I've made bad choices and maybe Ron has, too, but I think he and I are very similar. We're very passionate people, but we admit when we're wrong, too."

 
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