Metta World Peace Talks Russell Westbrook Incident with Fan, 'Malice at the Palace'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 27, 2021

Washington Wizards' Russell Westbrook plays during Game 2 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Former NBA star Metta World Peace had flashbacks to 2004 as he watched a Philadelphia 76ers fan dump popcorn on Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook.

"I felt like I was going to run into the stands," World Peace said to USA Today's Mark Medina. "It shook me up a little bit."

Westbrook was walking back to the locker room in the fourth quarter when one Sixers fan crossed the line.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Russ got heated after a fan threw popcorn at him pic.twitter.com/XyMRUxUVwc

"How do you throw popcorn on a player?" World Peace said. "Westbrook was pissed, and he had the right to be pissed. But I’m so happy that he was around people. Security was incredible."

Metta World Peace @MettaWorld37

That’s B.S!!!! This doesn’t sit well. What in the world is that fan doing throwing stuff. This is unacceptable. Wt......!

The 2004 All-Star might be able to speak to Westbrook's state of mind in the moment.

As the Indiana Pacers were in the closing stages of a victory over the Detroit Pistons in November 2004, tensions between the teams rose following a foul by World Peace on Ben Wallace. With players arguing back and forth, World Peace laid down on the scorer's table, and the situation escalated when a fan threw a drink at him.

Wednesday wasn't a repeat of the "Malice at the Palace" as security personnel prevented Westbrook from walking into the stands, which World Peace had done in Detroit.

The 41-year-old told Medina the fan who dumped the popcorn on Westbrook should make a public apology. He also suggested the person should "have his ass come to [the] arena" to speak with the 2016-17 MVP personally.

That will be difficult to do, though. The Sixers announced Thursday the fan is banned from Wells Fargo Center indefinitely and had his season tickets revoked.