Basketball is a contact sport. But when there is unwanted contact, fights occur and violence inevitably erupts.
Brandon Ingram of Los Angeles Lakers returned to the hardwood last Monday, October 29, in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This was after his four-game suspension in relation to a brawl last October 21 in a match against the Houston Rockets that saw punches thrown. LA’s Rajon Rondo and the Rockets’ Chris Paul were also suspended.
The melee started with Ingram shoving James Harden, who was driving towards the basket, and was in the face of the former. The inevitable foul was called. When we look back at the worst brawls in the NBA, we can see that some of them stemmed from frustration fouls or inadvertent contact. Here is a look back at some of the worst brawls:
The Punch (1977)
Rudy Tomjanovich, best known for coaching the ’90s Houston Rockets championship team as well as an NBA team that won in the Olympics, was also once a player himself. It was during his playing career when Rudy ran and tried to stop a fight during a game, running smack dab into the fist of opposing player Kermit Washington. Rudy had to undergo facial surgery. He would recover, but would not sue the player who punched him in the face. Rather, he would sue the opposing team for failing to control its players – and win the lawsuit.
Malice at the Palace (2004)
With the Detroit Pistons ahead by a big margin against the Indiana Pacers, Ron Artest commits a hard frustration foul on Ben Wallace. Wallace shoves Artest, who then runs up to the stands to do harm against a spectator. Artest was suspended for the remainder of the season or a total of 86 games. Changing his name to Metta World peace, Artest would later become a Los Angeles Laker and accidentally give James Harden a concussion.
Charles Barkley vs. Bill Laimbeer (1990)
Already a won game by the Philadelphia 76ers yet Rick Mahorn still drives to the basket. Dennis Rodman fouls him, and then Bill Laimbeer puts the ball into Mahorn’s face. Charles Barkley then starts swinging against Laimbeer.
Larry Bird vs. Bill Laimbeer (1987)
In the video it looks like Laimbeer very nearly tries to break the neck of Larry Bird, who starts swinging at Laimbeer even while down on the floor. Upon closer scrutiny, there was a lot of contact before the fight that ensued.