First Impressions

The Big Redhead discusses, among other things, the Palace Brawl, Paul Pierce's recent remarks and Joe Johnson's off-season decision.

Updated: November 19, 2005, 12:49 PM ET
By Bill Walton | ESPN Insider
One year ago, the world as we knew it changed forever. On a terrifying fall night in Michigan some NBA players beat up the fans during the game. I was there. And while those scary moments were easily the lowest point in my now 31 years in the NBA, hopefully and thankfully the ugly aftermath, stigma and stain appears to be easing. Although I am more than bit concerned that Ron Artest and some of the other perpetrators are somehow falling into the trap that they are now the victims. And couldn't some of the national magazines find a more appropriate cover story for the season's tip-off than Ron Artest's return? Poor Larry Bird. Does this mean that Artest is now the leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. Is there anybody else out there old enough to remember when self-inflicted damage was not a mitigating factor in delusional downward spirals.

I was just wondering if when Jermaine O'Neal said the other night after his Pacers lay-down against Charlotte that they didn't deserve to get paid that day ... if anyone, like maybe the Pacers controller, ever followed up on that.

Why do people like Paul Pierce -- playing for a losing team -- continue to denigrate the talent, work and effort of a World Champion the likes of Tayshaun Prince?
ESPN.com NBA Insider and Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton will again serve as a game analyst for ESPN's NBA telecasts. He joined ESPN and ABC Sports' in their inaugural season of NBA coverage in 2002.