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The story of one of the worst sports fights in history has been told ad naseum. With 45 seconds left in their Nov. 19, 2004 matchup, Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest fouled Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons hard from behind. The two players got into it, leading to both benches clearing before things calmed down. Artest decided to lie down on the scorer's table to remove himself from the situation, and the fight appeared to be over. Out of nowhere, a cup of diet coke came hurtling through the air, hitting Artest in the chest. Then all hell broke loose. Artest zoomed into the stands, fans were fighting NBA players, and the Pacers and Pistons started going at it all over again. It was chaotic and ugly, but the ensuing suspensions were even uglier.
Artest was suspended for the rest of the season, which came out to 86 games and a loss of almost $5 million in salary. The Pacers' Stephen Jackson was suspended for 30 games and lost $1.7 million, and Jermaine O'Neal got 15 games, losing over $4 million. Wallace got a six-game suspension, forfeiting $400,000, but that Indiana Pacers team, which had aspired to win an NBA championship, became a shell of its former self. Artest was traded to Sacramento the next season. O'Neal and Jackson were eventually traded as well, and the Pacers missed the Playoffs four straight years from 2007-2010.
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