When Marcus Smart shoved a Texas Tech fan on Sunday night, immediately, references to the Malice at the Palace popped up across the social media world.
When it comes to heated player-fan interaction, that has become the signature case — a 2004 game in Detroit when an arena-wide brawl broke out after a fan tossed a beer at Ron Artest and he charged into the stands. You can watch the video here.
Plenty of people were at fault on that infamous night, but Artest — who has since changed his name to Metta World Peace — was the key figure.
And by coincidence, World Peace, who is now with the Knicks, was in Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon and fielded some questions from reporters regarding the Smart situation.
At times, he was serious. At times, he was quirky. At times, he was funny. Here’s the transcript of the brief interview:
Q: Just because they give their money, does that give a fan the right to scream something?
A: If a fan screams something at me, I don’t know what that person has been through, you know. He could have or she could have grown up rough or maybe in a single family household. I don’t know what would make somebody scream negative things at somebody, maybe they’re just having fun. In a pro game, I’ve learned to accept it because they pay to watch us play and hey, I appreciate it. Then I go home and I finish watching Breaking Bad. It’s that simple for me. I’m actually on House of Cards now. I just finished Breaking Bad. I wish there was a Season 6 actually, because Breaking Bad was amazing. Have you seen it?
Q: If you could talk to Marcus, what advice would you give?
A: I don’t know how old he is, but I know at 19 years old when I came out of St. Johns, I was fresh out the hood, fresh out of Queensbridge. So my mentality was still struggle, defensive and things like that. So I wasn’t really conscious. But I’m 34 years old now. He’s a young kid. I wish I would have listened when I was a kid, to my elders or to people who had my best interest at heart. And then I wish I would have been more conscious at my age. Those are two things that if you were to reach out to a kid like Marcus, a talented kid, a future leader in the community, you would tell him those things.
Q: What was the lesson you learned from that incident?
A: Those incidents, you can’t really learn much from things that are out of your control, but you can become more conscious. You become wiser as you get older. Even John, the guy that threw the beer at me in Detroit, he actually apologized to me. We actually talked. He said, “I was dumb for doing that, sorry,” and he lost all his money, so we’re actually cool. I didn’t hold no grudges for him.
Q: When did you speak to him?
A: Three years after. Three or four years after.
Q: Would you respond differently if it happened today?
A: (Joking) If you threw a beer at me, I probably would put you in a chokehold right now. And then we would go get some ice cream later, but I would probably tell you how much of an (expletive) you were.