What happened: Rudy T ran up to help break up a fight, but Kermit Washington didn’t realize that and sucker-punched him and fractured his face.
Famous words: "What happened? Did the scoreboard fall on me?" — A confused Tomjanovich after the punch
Bottom line: A fight broke out between Rudy Tomjanovich’s Rockets and Kermit Washington’s Lakers that involved numerous players. Tomjanovich ran toward the altercation while Washington had his back to him.
Washington then spun around and saw someone running toward him, so he delivered one right-handed punch to Tomjanovich’s face. Rudy T immediately fell to the floor with the back of his head bouncing off the court.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was involved in the melee, and he likened the sound of the punch to a giant melon being dropped on concrete. Tomjanovich started bleeding and within a matter of seconds was laying in a pool of his own blood.
He broke his skull, nose, jaw, had a concussion and was even leaking spinal fluid into his mouth, which he said he could taste.
Washington was suspended 26 games, and Rudy T missed the rest of the season (59 games) before making a full recovery.