LeBron James suspended for ‘recklessly hitting’ Isaiah Stewart in bloody on-court altercation

The suspension was announced late Monday by Byron Spruell, president of League Operations, in a statement by the NBA.

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NBA superstar LeBron James has been suspended for the second time in his 19-year career for “recklessly hitting” Detroit Pistons player Isaiah Stewart in the face with his elbow, league officials said.

The suspension was announced late Monday by Byron Spruell, president of League Operations, in a statement by the NBA.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on as he is ejected from Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

According to ESPN, Stewart has been suspended for two games for “escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing” James, who was suspended for a single game.

The incident happened on Sunday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit during the third quarter of the game between the Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers. James and Stewart were lined up to retrieve a free throw when their arms became entangled. James appeared to try to extricate himself and swung his elbow, which hit Stewart above his eye, causing blood to stream. 

Detroit Pistons coaches and fellow players calm down Isaiah Stewart of the Pistons after he was struck by LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers during the third quarter of Sunday’s game at Little Caesars Arena. (Photo: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Stewart was led away by coaches and teammates yet appeared to grow angrier about the wild throw and doubled back several times to confront James. The intense confrontation brought players and coaches to the floor, but they were barely able to restrain Stewart. 

Stewart will miss two games, forfeiting about $45,000, while James will miss tonight’s game against the New York Knicks and forfeit approximately $284,000. 

The Pistons and Lakers will meet again Sunday in Los Angeles, and both players will be eligible to play again.

Sport analysts have been opining on the encounter since it happened. 

Shannon Sharpe chimed in on Twitter, saying: “LeBron deserved to be ejected from the game, but I don’t believe he intentionally hit Isaiah in the face.” 

Sharpe’s fellow commentator Skip Bayless tweeted, “Never seen anything remotely that dirty from LeBron James. It was the equivalent of hitting Stewart with his fist. Lotta blood. Just a shocking reaction by LeBron, who then spread his hands, moved toward Stewart like he didn’t mean it. Stewart wasn’t having it. Can’t blame him.” 

Bleacher Report shared a tweet by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, which said: “LeBron tried to get Isaiah Stewart’s phone number last night to tell him the hit was inadvertent.” Charania made this claim on the Pat McAfee Show.

The fight was reminiscent of the “Malice at the Palace,” the most infamous brawl in NBA history, which occurred on November 19, 2004, when players from the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers fought both each other and several fans. A documentary about the incident was recently released on Netflix. 

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