Image courtesy: Jay Westrada

Metta Sandiford-Artest and Ben Wallace — these two will forever be entangled in every basketball mind after positioning themselves with the Detroit faithful as the focal figures of the scandalous ‘Malice at the Palace’ which caused widespread penalties and media scrutiny. 

And 15 years later, as speculations are still swirling about the said former players sustaining the bad blood due to the infamous incident, Sandiford-Artest finally cleared things out: the only issue he has against Wallace is the awards it gained during those priceless days that basketball was still theirs.

Joining the latest release of ‘Big Podcast’ with the legendary Shaquille O’Neal, the former NBA star clarified that he has no rift with the Detroit Pistons icon which can be traced from the fight, and his only case with Wallace is the lucrative recognitions that the big man captured in which, the 6-foot-7 forward continues to believe that he deserves some of them.

“I never had an issue with Ben,” Sandiford-Artest told O’Neal and the other hosts. “People, they can say what they want.

“The only issue I had with Ben is that I feel like I got (a) couple of those awards. That’s it.”

The former pro still tipped off his very own hat to one of the most vigorous cagers ever, but argued also that he is jealous of what Wallace has managed to build as an all-time defender.

“I respect Ben. I enjoy the fact that somebody that loves defense so much is getting honored — and I also envy it because it’s something I wanted. Like I wanted to be the best defender in the league — I want to be one of the best wing defenders ever.

“With that being said, I have no relationship with Ben. The only relationship I have that, you know, is the brawl thing.”

The frenzy has caused 10 players to be suspended and the NBA enforcing limited alcohol selling within the arena and increased player security. Wallace missed six games, while Sandiford-Artest, formerly known as Ron Artest, was slapped by a hefty punishment that crumbled retiring great marksman Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers’ title hopes — he was pushed out for the remainder of the 2004-2005 campaign including the playoffs.

Wallace and Sandiford-Artest were the primary defensive stalwarts of the early to mid-2000s, anchoring their respective ball clubs with that sheer lock-down instincts and uncanny defense-first mentality.

NBA champion Wallace captured the league’s Defensive Player of the Year trophy on four occasions, a record he shares with the shot blocking summit Dikembe Mutombo. The Hall of Famer could have gone five straight from 2003 to 2006 if Sandiford-Artest didn’t position himself to slide into the 2004 season, serving as the x-factor of that regular season no. 1 seeded Pacers team while averaging 2.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 96.0 defensive rating as the fearsome perimeter defense anchor. 

As such, both of these two past phenoms deserve their flowers as a way of repaying their contribution to the game. While the 2010 champ with the L. A. Lakers can somehow raise a further argument that he should have seized some of Wallace’ accolades, the important point now is that he precisely ended the people’s speculations of rift with Wallace. 

And this image has to be the existing proof of that.