Featuring Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Reggie Miller
Compelling. Rousing. Effective.
Less than a month in to the 2004 NBA season, the league-leading Indiana Pacers visited the defending-champion Detroit Pistons. Very few people remember the actual game, but no sports fan can forget the finale. After being hit by a thrown cup, Ron Artest of the Pacers charged up into the stands and a massive brawl ensued, resulting in suspensions for several of the players. As I watched episode 1 of Netflix’s new sports-documentary series, Untold, I was reminded of how great the early 2000s’ Indiana Pacers were. Going into 2004, they had Reggie Miller, Jermaine O’Neal, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, and Jamaal Tinsley. That I often forget about these Pacers is the underlying tragedy at the heart of Malice at the Palace. No, it’s not a tragedy on the scale of a natural disaster, the loss of life, or a war, but the consequences of Malice at the Palace were an injustice and had a lasting effect on these players and their legacies. It’s more than just basketball. The players took all of the blame. Sure, Artest was a volatile personality, but he did not instigate this event. I don’t know many people who could have something thrown at them and not react. The point is, the league did nothing to the fans of Detroit who rioted and attacked the Indiana Pacers players, and instead labeled the players being attacked, “thugs.” Though only an hour long, this is an exceptional documentary with an abundance of great footage and different perspectives including those of some of the key fans who prove to be exactly how you’d imagine them: jerks.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-