malice-cup

Here is a fun and possibly fake internet story, via Redditor “salmon10″:

It was 3 days before my 20th birthday. What better a gift than a Pistons game that was bound to be a tug of war rematch of the previous year’s titanic Eastern Conference Finals. Myself, my girlfriend, and my best friend from college had scored amazing seats, in section 115, row CC. Three rows behind the Detroit bench. It was heaven (In a twist of fate, I’ve sat in that exact row now 4 times since then..). The game itself was a slight disappointment, for a victory wouldve been an excellent early present. I remember Rasheed and Darvin Ham had a particular great game. I despised the Pacers, but respected them utmost. Hell, I was and to this day an enormous Artest/World Peace fan. I think he would’ve made one hell of a Piston in fact.

Fast forward to the moments after The Shove. The Detroit bench was surprisingly hostile, and I remember clearly Elden Campbell heightening the situation by making crying sounds, trying to entice Artest or whomever. It was strange, considering I always thought of him as a gentle giant. Anyways, Artest starts to calm down and decides to lay upon the scorers table, about 25 feet from myself and my company. Both benches are standing and shouting at one another. It was getting pretty damn grim. My girlfriend and I were panning the audience, the little that had remained, and everyone’s look was that of worry and clairvoyance, as if we all knew that things were going to come to a head. As I was looking to the left of me, one section over and maybe 6 rows back, I witness very obviously a man in blue Pistons garb throw his drink toward the court.(This man has since been identified as John Green). The timing, and aim, couldn’t have been more devastating. My girlfriend had seen him toss the cup the exact same time I did. What happens next is one giant cacophony of regret and shame on the part of the mob-mentality fans and players. When Artest started to lunge upon the fans, I recall Rick Mahorn, who was doing the local TV play by play, leap out of his seat and go after Artest and pulled fans away. Mind you this was all occurring no more than 30 feet from us. All the meanwhile the security had hardly any control of the situation, and fans were already entering the court. The entire time, I never took my eyes off the Cup. It was repeatedly kicked and swatted, with no one as much thinking to jump upon it. At one time, when Jermaine ONeal had just slide-punched one fan, he was being restrained by Johnathan Bender and other teammates. During this melee, one of them had managed to kick it (along with many other things that were thrown upon the court) clear across the court and right in front of Larry Brown, who at this time was trying to comfort his son whom was the ball boy.

Fast forward to about 4 minutes after the players had left for the locker rooms. Mason, the announcer, and other police/security guards were demanding we all leave in a calm fashion as quickly as possible. I had to retrieve that Cup. I had in my mind the idea that if I myself were to get it, I would be pepper sprayed or some sort of force would be taken upon me. So, being the kind hearted gentleman I am, I asked my girlfriend to lunge for it. She obliged immediately, and simply walked down to the court and picked it up. At this point, security was not within 100 feet of us, and the Cup itself was still laying where it had been for a good 10 minutes. She picks it up, still with traces of liquid in it, which was not alcohol but definitely a soda of some sort. She hands it to me, I tell her to place it in her purse. The three of us leave with gusto.

Now it resides at my father’s home. No markings of the chaos, no real authenticity of the event. Just the story that can be vouched by other people, and just maybe video somewhere out there. To this day I refuse to watch footage of the Malice. Just thinking about it makes my eyes well up, I get a lump in my throat and I am overcome with remorse. A lot of things changed that night, most for the better, but the images and stories I ponder from that night will live with me forever, as will this mundane yet infamous article of NBA history.

Well, even though Darvin Ham threw up a pretty Darvin Ham-ish zero points and one rebound in 11 minutes, Rasheed Wallace did have a nice 19-10 outing, so I guess this story which is impossible to verify holds up. I mean, Rick Mahorn is definitely in the mix once things get crazy, plus this cup certainly does look exactly like the Ron Artest chest cup.

cup-closeup

Of course, when you consider this alleged cup is a 2004 Pistons championship cup, basically guaranteeing thousands of people bought the same commemorative plastic tumbler at the same game because it gets you a Diet Coke refill for a fraction of the usual price, it’s harder to say for sure. But considering this story has a solid, previously-unknown bit of Elden Campbell zingery included in it, I want to believe it’s real. Yeah, it’s pretty unlikely that a plastic cup wouldn’t get trampled when a bunch of tall guys are rioting around it, or that you could keep your eyes on one blue cup with a riot going on, but stranger things have happened.

And I also want this to become a thing, because collecting bits of infamous NBA paraphernalia might be a lucrative business opportunity. And though I’m inclined to believe that having the actual cup that someone threw at Ron Artest to start the Malice at the Palace is probably the Holy Grail of this kind of stuff, finding Patrick Ewing’s frozen envelope, the Gilbert Arenas “Pick 1″ sign or a betting receipt for an NBA game with Tim Donaghy’s name on it could also be pretty valuable pieces to have in your personal collection. Sure, all this stuff is probably technically worthless, but it’s still worth showing off to your friends.

Or maybe not. It might just be a commemorative cup you’ve saved for nearly a decade and they think you’re weird for having something so cheap in your China cabinet. Your mileage may vary.