The best part about the 10 year anniversary of The Brawl in Detroit is that it no longer matters.
The melee triggered by fans and escalated by Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson to a frightening scene at the Palace in Auburn Hills ruined a season with championship promise for the Pacers and set the franchise back roughly six years give-or-take Travis Diener.
But the scene and impact is fading in the rearview mirror, so while ten years is a nice round milestone number, I'm really not moved to engage in heavy retrospective on all of the details that have already been exhausted over the years. In fact, all of the key players turned down interview requests for the Star's big look back. Nothing new to say, so why bother.
I did raise an eyebrow at one look back in time from Nat Newell which quotes NBA.com writer and 2004 beat writer for the Pacers, Sekou Smith.
"The Pistons were the flag-bearers for six or seven years in the aftermath of the brawl. Without the brawl, that would have been the Pacers," said Sekou Smith, The Indianapolis Star's beat writer that season who continues to cover the league for nba.com. "That roster, that coaching staff ... everything was in place."
The article goes on to presume the Pacers missed out on a raising a championship banner or more after things crumbled following the brawl.
Maybe it is a defense mechanism, but I've never bought this line of reasoning. The 2004-05 season was in its infant stages and to think a team relying on Artest, Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley was going to keep it together and make a championship run seems absolutely absurd. There would've been adversity, let alone injuries, at some point and none of these guys ever showed the ability to handle either throughout their career.
Obviously, we'll never forget the incident but bathing in the details every year in November has become a tedious exercise. I do wonder how you may have digested the event at the time.
I was watching the game while preparing to fly out to Seattle the next morning for Thanksgiving. It was impossible to initially assess the impact because it was so much crazier than any incident on the court. With bias in tow, it seemed like the Pistons and Pacers would equally feel the brunt of the fallout since the Palace failed so miserably to handle the scene.
But it wasn't until the next day after arriving in Seattle that I had the full, "uh, oh" moment, when the Pacers and Ron Artest were the topic of every local show on radio and TV with the video on constant loop everywhere you looked.
So where were you when The Brawl erupted and how did you react to the fallout?