The NBA returns in a few days, and the basketball fans around the world cannot wait to see the players back in action. The remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season will be special, as all games will be played in the bubble, at Disney World in Florida.
Of course, there won’t be any spectators on the stands, so the atmosphere will be very strange. The players will hear each other very well, so it would be interesting to see how the players will behave under some unusual circumstances.
At least, we don’t have to worry about any potential altercation between players and fans, but with plenty of high-stake games on the schedule, we could see some brawls at Disney’s. Hereof, I bring you six craziest NBA fights ever to prepare you for the 2019-20 NBA season restart.
Charles Barkley versus Shaquille O’Neal
Back in 1999, the Rockets host the Los Angeles Lakers who were one of the best teams in the league at the time. Shaquille O’Neal was entering his prime, while on the other side, Charles Barkley was playing his last NBA season, so he was fired up to show his class against the most dominant big man in the league.
“I also didn’t think that was going to turn into a fight,” Sir Charles said.
“But first of all, it was an NBA fight, so we fought like girls and it didn’t last very long. But I wasn’t going to let him embarrass me in front of 18,000 people. So, you have to fight at some point.”
Barkley and O’Neal eventually became friends and started working together in 2012. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but if you need some wrestling advice, ask Charles to show you how to topple a guy who’s as twice as bigger than you.
Pistons versus 76ers in 1990
The Bad Boys from Detroit will be remembered as one of the dirtiest teams ever. Led by Bill Laimbeer, the Pistons always looked to strike first, while their physical defense reminded of some of the finest NFL units.
However, the Bad Boys were very bad losers, too. Just remember they left the court in Game 4 of the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, refusing to shake hands with the Bulls and congrats their rivals. In this one against the Sixers, the Pistons showed their frustration a few times.
Late in the fourth quarter, Isiah Thomas landed a right hook on his former teammate Rick Mahorn. Thomas was ejected, while you have to check out Mahorn’s epic reaction. Later, Mahorn and Laimbeer started a brawl, but Charles Barkley was a key factor once again, as he started punching Laimbeer in the head.
Larry Bird vs. Bad Boys
Larry Bird is one of my favorite NBA players. Not only because of his basketball skills, as Larry was one of the good guys around the league when NBA basketball was a very dirty game. Furthermore, Larry hates Bill Laimbeer, and one night during the 1987 NBA Playoffs, Bird had enough of Bill and the Pistons’ tough game.
“It’s because he was a dirty player,” Bird said.
“He had to do what he had to do and I understand that, but you take like (former Piston) Ricky Mahorn, he’d hit you and you knew you were going to get hit. He didn’t try to maim you. Bill tried to hurt you.”
Many said they’ve never seen Larry Bird as angry as that night against the Pistons. The Celtics and Pistons had a fierce rivalry during the ‘80s, and it all culminated after Laimbeer’s hard foul on Bird. When I’m looking at those scenes now, it seems like Larry wanted to kill them all without regrets.
The Chief knockouts Laimbeer
Bill Laimbeer was the heart and soul of the Bad Boys. I’ve said many times that there should be an award for the dirtiest NBA player of the season named after Laimbeer. Bill was ready to do anything to get a win, and Larry Bird stated that Laimbeer was trying to hurt his opponents.
Hereof, it’s no strange that many players around the NBA were involved in the brawls with the Pistons, but Robert Parish’s knockout stands out as the craziest thing somebody has done against the Bad Boys.
The Chief got his nickname because of his stoic nature and after Chief Bromden, a silent character in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Parish was a huge authority in the NBA, so playing games with the Chief wasn’t recommended at all.
Kermit Washington ends Rudy Tomjanovich’s career
Here’s another knockout punch, but this one was almost lethal. Back in 1977, the Lakers’ power forward Kermit Washington hit the Rockets’ All-Star Rudy Tomjanovich in the head, living him on the floor in the pool of blood.
“I saw something from the corner of my eye — it was Rudy running at me 100 miles an hour,” Washington said. “And I swung and that was a mistake that I made in judgment.”
Kermit was suspended for 60 days and fined $10,000, but many thought it wasn’t enough, as Washington broke Rudy’s skull and Tomjanovich could die on the floor that night. Rudy underwent a few surgeries and spent four days in hospital after the punch.
Tomjanovich was never the same player as he was prior to the knockout, and he retired in 1981.
“When something like that happens in a person’s life, there has to be healing — physical healing and emotional healing,” Tomjanovich said the day he and Washington finally met in 2002 outside the Golden State Warriors practice facility. “The physical heals. Nature and medicine take care of that. I have nothing to do with that. The emotional healing has everything to do with me.”
Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson against the world
I believe many basketball fans know about the Malice in the Palace. It’s arguably the craziest NBA fight ever. On November 19, 2004, the reigning NBA champs Detroit Pistons host the Indiana Pacers in the rematch of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers had a 15-point lead with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter when Ben Wallace and Ron Artest started an altercation.
Big Ben pushed Artest away and wanted to beat the hell out of him. Ron, who’s well known as one of the most temperamental NBA players in the last few decades, obviously got scared and lied down on the scorers table.
Anyway, Wallace couldn’t calm down, while the audience started to throw things at Artest. Finally, when a cup with ice and soda hit Artest in the chest, Ron decided to find out who did it. And the rest is history.
Stephen Jackson joined Artest, as we witnessed a massive brawl between players and Pistons fans. After the clash, the league suspended nine players for a total of ridiculous 146 games. Also, these players lost $11 million in salary, while Artest was convicted for assault.