Former NBA star Metta Sandiford-Artest has some interesting things to say about his career. The 41-year-old recently appeared on Terrell Owens‘ new show Getcha Popcorn Ready and was asked about his thoughts on athletes such as Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles taking a stand on mental health. That is when Sandiford-Artest talked about retiring from the NBA before getting involved in a major brawl when he was with the Indiana Pacers in 2004.
“I actually wanted to retire,” Sandiford-Artest revealed. “I actually called the NBA office, asked for my papers to retire. I just need time for myself, and I wish I would have done it because I wouldn’t have been suspended. But it’s like sometimes as an athlete, they think we’re just all [machines]. But it’s not like that. It’s not true. We are as human as anybody else.”
Known as “The Malice at the Palace”, Sandiford-Artest was involved in a fight with Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace. Once everything settled down, Sandiford-Artest was seen laying on the scorer’s table. A fan threw and a drink at the Pacers star, leading him to go into the stands and fight fans, leading to total chaos. Sandiford-Artest was suspended for the rest of the year (86 games) resulting in a loss of nearly $5 million.
Had Sandiford-Artest retired before the brawl, it’s likely the event never would have happened. However, it would have had a short NBA career since he entered the league in 1999. Sandiford-Artest is one of the best defensive players in the NBA at the time, winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. He was also selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team four times and when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, he helped the team win an NBA Championship.
In an interview with GQ in 2019, Sandiford-Artest revealed the biggest misconception of him while he was playing. Everything people said was true. I’m from the streets, I’m from the hood,” he said. “There’s no misconception, it’s just about accepting. Can you accept it? I’m not from where you’re from. I love where I’m from. I had a mother and father up to the age of 13. Then they separated, and things started to go south for me emotionally.” Owens’ full interview with Sandiford-Artest can be seen on Getcha Popcorn Ready on the Fubo Sports Network. New episodes air Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. ET.