Artest Never Punched Anyone

Remember the Artest Melee? Hard foul, unruly fans, Ron Artest charges into the stands and goes grade-A crazy. Watch the video for a gentle reminder, with stirring narration by ESPN's Mike Breen and Bill Walton.

Royce couldn't believe that Artest was mentioned as "allegedly" punching a fan. My hunch was right: if you look at the video, Artest never lands a punch. It doesn't even really look like he tries to, because as soon as he gets to the offending fan, all hell breaks loose. But, and correct me if I'm wrong, he never punches anyone.

Personally, I feel like I just watched the Zapruder Film for the first time. Artest's entire career to this point has been defined by this incident - and there is little doubt that the incident will define the rest of his career (yes, even if he wins a title with Kobe in LA). When it happened, this was the most egregious case of on-court violence since Kermit Washington sucker-punched Rudy Tomjanovich and almost killed him. You know the rest: suspensions galore, with Artest getting an unprecedented 86-game suspension(remaining 72 regular-season games plus 14 postseason games), and the Pacers were never the same again. But look at the tape again: does he ever hit anyone?

And should that matter?


  1. Wait what is up with that video? They didn't show the highlight of Jermaine O'Neal taking out Turtle! I feel cheated

    (Side note: this led to an amusing 5 minutes of my life where I searched YouTube for the "Jermaine O'Neal punch" and found one highlight film of Jermaine - which almost exclusively featured fadeaway 12-foot jumpers hahaha - and about two dozen highlights of opposing players either dunking on or blocking Jermaine. Haha.. ladies and gentlemen, the player who earned an even bigger contract than Tim Duncan in the summer of 2003!!)

    Also Artest didn't connect on any big punches that I saw (though Capt Jack did), but he did viciously slam that fan's head into the ground when he first ran up there.

    But my point is this - we had 10 cameras recording the entire incident. There is nothing "alleged" about any of it. Either Artest hit a fan or he swung at a fan, but why would we allege anything?

  2. Matters not if he punched anyone - he went bat-shit crazy (although I think he only deserved 1/2 the suspension). They should have an E! True Hollywood Story about this - "The Malice at the Palace - where they are now". How great would it be to learn how shitty the lives are of the Pistons fans today?

  3. Oops I take it back, it's at the 6:30 mark

    What an amazing moment... Eddie Kim was right when he said that Jermaine put more effort into that punch than he's put into defense, ever.

    And just before the O'Neal punch is Artest barely whiffing on two big swings... how do you classify that? A swing and a miss? Grazing a fan with a few punches? Shadowboxing Turtle?

  4. I made the argument that Artest going into the stands and not landing a punch was a worse offense than O'Neal decking Turtle when the fan walks on to the court.

  5. The moment at 6:10 is classic - the fan comes on like he's the shit, but realizes he's way to close to Artest and just shits his pants - awesome!