Nearly a quarter of a century after getting elbowed in the face by Karl Malone, Isiah Thomas hasn’t forgotten or forgiven. It took more than 40 stitches to patch his grill back together, and Zeke rightfully considers Malone’s dirty play one of the worst in NBA history. Per the Detroit News (via PBT):
“I think it was the dirtiest play I have experienced in the game of basketball in my life,” Thomas said of the play, which happened on a Pistons pick-and-roll with Malone rotating to cover the middle. “I don’t think I’ve seen anything as vicious and as intentional to a player. I still don’t understand it.”
Thomas needed 47 stitches. His head swelled up, and even though he returned to play seven minutes, he was hospitalized and missed two games.
“My head; it was just ugly,” Thomas said. “When I got home my wife started crying. There was so much swelling on my head.”
Some thought it was because Thomas showed up Jazz guard John Stockton with a 40-point outburst after Thomas was passed over for the 1992 Dream Team for Stockton.
“It was horrific,” Thomas said. “That was the cheapest (bleep) in my mind in the history of the game.”