The man formerly known as Ron Artest, is infamous in the city of Detroit. Not only did he play on the hated Indiana Pacers, he is also the figurehead of arguably the city’s most infamous sports disaster: the Malice at the Palace. If you wish to have a refresher, below is a video displaying the chaotic scene that took place on November 19th, 2004.
Almost fourteen years after the “NBA’s worst night”, Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, has spoken out about the event.
ESPN staff writer Baxter Holmes penned an in-depth piece on World Peace and his reflections on his Pacers tenure. In the piece, Holmes illustrates World Peace’ remorse for how his time in Indiana ended:
Even if World Peace’s career moves on, ever closer to his overall goal of playing for 20 seasons, he said he won’t ever recover from how his Pacers tenure ended, especially because he believed so many people in and around the franchise truly liked him, cared for him, tried to help him at every turn, but he didn’t do right by them.
“That’s what I feel most bad about to this day,” World Peace told ESPN. ‘That’s something that I can never, ever forgive myself for. I don’t regret it, but I definitely can’t forgive myself for that.”
This hadn’t always been the case however. Holmes further elaborated on World Peace’ abrasive attitude immediately after the brawl:
He didn’t always feel that way. It took time for World Peace to realize the magnitude of his actions, even beyond the brawl, which earned him a 73-game suspension — the longest in NBA history. He had also demanded a trade after being upset about a trade rumor, which led to the Pacers deactivating the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He had also kicked a ball into the stands, broke a TV camera and verbally sparred with Miami Heat coach Pat Riley during games.
Some within the Pacers organization, like Pacers media relations director David Benner, don’t feel animosity toward the former Defensive Player of the Year. Surprisingly, Benner even went as far as to state many in the organization still greatly care for Metta World Peace.
Regardless of the regret and remorse that World Peace still feels, the feeling isn’t exactly mutual. Benner said many in and around the Pacers still care for World Peace just as much as they did when he played for them, despite whatever issues he caused that greatly altered his reputation.
“It’s a shame because most people on the outside didn’t get to know Ron like a lot of us on the inside,” Benner said, “and know that underneath whatever problems may have been there, there was a genuine, nice, likable guy, too. Again, that’s why I’m always glad to see him. When he was here, I never saw him refuse to sign an autograph. Never. Ron was always great, and he was always great with kids. This is the stuff you saw from Ron that a lot of people didn’t see, and what everyone remembers him for, mostly, is what happened in Detroit.”
To read the full piece on ESPN.com, click the link here.