It's been more than a week since the last beer was hurled at The Palace of Auburn Hills, but the Pacers-Pistons brawl is still playing itself out. The Pacers won three of their first four games after losing three starters to suspensions, thanks mainly to the stellar play of point guard Jamaal Tinsley (right). But with so much else happening, it was easy to forget there was an NBA season in progress. Consider:
•Ron Artest--suspended for the season, with a salary loss of $5 million--put his involuntary sabbatical to good use. Two days after NBA commissioner David Stern banned him, Artest was on the Today show, ostensibly to show remorse but actually to plug Chapter III, the CD he produced for the R&B group Allure. "I've been working real hard on doing a lot of positive things," Artest told Matt Lauer. "And you know, I've got this album coming out. It's positive." (On Monday it ranked 25,449th on Amazon.com's sales list.)
•John Green, who allegedly started the Detroit mess by throwing a cup at Artest, was also busy getting his story out. Green, 39, a building contractor and Pistons season-ticket holder, pleaded his case on Good Morning America and Larry King Live, calling Artest "a thug" and saying, "I don't go around breaking the law. If they have found that I broke the law, I'll pay the price." As of Monday, Green, who prosecutors say can be seen on tape punching Artest, hadn't been charged with a crime, though he is reportedly on probation for a third DUI offense. He was also in and out of prison between 1986 and 1994 for offenses including assault and carrying a concealed weapon.
•Lawsuits were filed by two injured spectators against the Pacers and individual players. John Ackerman, 67, a retired auto worker allegedly knocked unconscious by a chair thrown by a fan, added the Palace to his suit.
•CI Host, a Web services and software company, offered $10,000 to the first person involved in the brawl to tattoo the company's logo on his fist. Meanwhile, eBay customers could bid on a cup purportedly tossed at Artest and popcorn that was scooped from the arena floor and "thrown at Jermaine O'Neal and other Pacers staff and players." On Monday the popcorn was going for $6.50. The cup was taken off the site when someone who no doubt had a sense of its true worth put in a bid of $99.9 million.