"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."
Why did Malone, who was ejected, deliver such a blow?
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.
Whatever the reason, it's a blow everyone remembers.
"It was horrific," Thomas said. "That was the cheapest (bleep) in my mind in the history of the game."