Last night's breakout in the Suns-Rockets game—which was exciting, yet anti-climactic, if i may say so—got me thinking.
I started to wonder what my favorite NBA fights of all time were. Call me whatever—but in all honesty, I love fights. It's the only saving grace of hockey. While the one last night was lame, here is my list of the best fights in NBA history.
5. November 9, 1984 - Julius Erving vs. Larry Bird
This one was so great simply because of who it involved. Larry Bird and Dr. J were the initiators, but the fight also involved Charles Barkley, Moses Malone, and Maurice Cheeks, just to name a few.
Bird was having a much better game than the Doctor, and it was clear the latter was frustrated. With 1:36 left in the third quarter, Erving charged at Bird and landed a jab right in his face. The benches cleared, and Dr. J won the fight in my opinion. Even though the Sixers lost, Philly fans considered it a win seeing Dr. J kick the @%&! out of Larry Bird.
4. May 13, 1994 - Playoff Brawl Between Knicks and Bulls in Stern's Face
What I like about this one was first the gravity of the situation (playoff game, emotions running high) and that Commissioner David Stern was in attendance. The look of embarrassment on Stern's face was priceless. You were half expecting him to count on his fingers the players he was going to suspend.
3. December 9, 1977 - Rudy T-Kermit Washington Incident
The day that overshadowed Rudy Tomjanovich's lustrous career. Despite Rudy's achievements, he is greater remember for being clocked by Kermit Washington during a bench clearer while trying to break the fight up.
Tomjanovich was running up the court to pull the brawlers apart and Kermit Washington (wow, he really made something of himself) saw him through his peripheral and elbowed him right in the jaw. The blow shattered the bones of Tomjanovich's jaw and face and inflicted life-threatening head injuries, leaving him sidelined for five months. He eventually made a full recovery.
2. January 15, 2001 - Camby to Van Gundy
Spurs guard Danny Ferry had poked Knicks Center Marcus Camby in the eye during a blowout in January. The officials stopped play and had Camby attended to. While Camby was talking to the officials about the play, he got the urge to throw a punch at Ferry. He ran from halfcourt to the Spurs bench.
Just before he landed the punch, Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy got in the way of Ferry and took the hit himself. Van Gundy got 15 stitches in his head. Camby still has a bounty for Ferry's head.
1. November 19, 2004 - Malice in the Palace
This one is not very funny for me to talk about, because the players went into the stands. It was horrible and one of the all-time lows for the NBA. When Artest went into the stands you knew he was gone for the year and he downright deserved it. I have never forgiven Artest for doing what he did.
It did impress me, however, that Artest didn't leave the bench during the breakout last night. That would have been fun to watch, though.