Rage fits are a common thing on the court for the NBA community. However, when these fits turn physical, it is something to look out for. One such dangerous incident occurred with Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas.
Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas dished out a lot of pain (both mental and physical) during his seemingly bittersweet basketball career.
The Hall of Famer was also on the receiving end of a lot of physically painful moments, including one of the nastiest elbows in NBA history. The said incident took place during overtime of a 1989 rivalry game against the Chicago Bulls.
Thomas received a deadly elbow from Bulls player Bill Cartwright. Thomas was bleeding very close to his eye. An infuriated Thomas tried to go after the foot taller center but was held back by his teammates.
Assistant coach Brendan Malone came over to say something to Thomas. However, the angry Piston put his hands on Malone’s throat. Malone didn’t flinch even one bit as he knew Thomas was just angry.
Malone told the Washington Post that when Malone came out on the court to calm Thomas down, Thomas had a few choice words about Cartwright and then said words similar to “he makes me so mad I could . . . choke him.”
Malone said he knew he was in no danger. Thankfully, Thomas wasn’t ejected from the game for putting his hands on a coach. Later, he thanked Malone for the same.
The Pistons went on to win that game 104-98 with a game-high 34 from Thomas, who needed six stitches after the incident.
After the game, Thomas said he had multiple conversations with NBA’s director of operations Rod Thorn about Cartwright.
“We have played the Bulls six times this year,” Thomas said,” and Cartwright has hit me five times. I stole the basketball from him, and he hit me. I pushed him and was about to turn away when he rushed me,” Thomas said.
The two teams met again later in the season and it only took eight minutes until the two got to it again. However, this time, Thomas threw and landed a punch on Cartwright.
It led to an ejection, a two-game suspension, a $5,000 fine and a broken hand for Thomas. Cartwright received a one-game suspension and a $2,500 fine for his actions.
Doctors predicted that the injury would put Isiah on the bench for at least three-four weeks. However, the player was considered the “toughest pound-for-pound” player of all-time. He played the rest of the season and helped take down the Bulls in the playoffs.
Later, he also helped his team sweep the Lakers in the NBA Finals.