As a Detroit Pistons fan growing up, there were several players that I had a strong disdain for. From Michael Jordan to James Worthy, they all somehow “got the calls” against Detroit. But there was one player that rose to the list like a catchy song going to number one on the charts. Karl Malone.
Let’s travel back to December 14th, 1991. The Pistons are playing the Utah Jazz on the road when one of the biggest cheap shots of all-time occurred.
As the story goes, from the Detroit Free Press archives, it was revenge for Thomas showing up John Stockton earlier in the year after Stockton, not Thomas, was chosen for the 1992 US Olympics team aka the “Dream Team” The beat report for the Pistons at the time? Our own Terry Foster: Here’s the article he published back on December 15th, 1991. Terry Foster 15 Dec 1991, Sun Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) Newspapers.com
“It was horrific,” Thomas said. “That was the cheapest (bleep) in my mind in the history of the game.”
We, as fans, were pissed about this hit. When Detroit won the title in 2004 over the Lakers, it was even sweeter to me because Karl Malone was denied a title. Petty? Of course, but I still remembered that hit.
A Detroit Pistons foe turned ally?
But there was one person, who was born in Saginaw, Michigan, who got to deliver a blow that, in hindsight, now has a meaning. While he was raised elsewhere, former NBA forward Kenyon Martin was the one who provided the payback. He was recently on the Showtime Basketball podcast “All the Smoke” with former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
Here is just a nine-second clip of the play in which K-Mart is referring to.
It’s really ironic, if you think about it. After all, it was the Pistons who beat the Nets in 2004 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, a team that Martin was a part of. That entire series was a tight one as Detroit came back to win after being down three games to two.