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I’ve been a conscious sports fan for 15 years, seeing my team win everything from the Super Bowl to the Rose Bowl to the Final Four, but few highlights remain engrained in my mind like that Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004. Today, that brawl turns 11. Let’s honor it by rewatching the whole thing, in full:
Malice at The Palace!
The Disaster In Detroit!
Gah, you know, when I think back on my favorite sports clips, it isn’t Vince Young’s incredible fourth-and-5 dash to the corner of the end zone to give Texas its first national championship in 30 years that comes to mind, it’s Ron Artest choke-slamming a fan as Stephen Jackson comes in with reinforcements. It’s fans throwing chairs onto the court as Jermaine O’Neal BEGS his coaches to let him go so he can curbstomp the drunk fat guy who doused him in soda and popcorn. It’s Larry Brown grabbing the PA’s mic trying to calm the masses, begging the crowd to relent. It’s that one crazy dude who rushed the court to hit Ron Artest, only to realize at the last moment he had no shot before taking a fist to the face and hitting the floor. It’s the cop threatening to pepper spray NBA players as a last resort to keep them from killing a whole bunch of shitty Detroit residents. It’s children crying in the stands as a meaningless early-season NBA game turns into one massive tangible metaphor for the godforsaken city of Detroit. It’s my mom trying to grab the remote and change the channel in a last-ditch attempt to shield her son from the violence and gore typically reserved for ‘R’ rated films.
It is so Goddamn beautiful that tears almost come to my eyes as I sit here and relive it.
I’m not an NBA fan by any means, but this night was one of the most glorious nights in my history of staying up after finishing my homework to watch SportsCenter that I’ll ever remember. #TBT.
Image via YouTube