Absolute chaos broke out between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons on Sunday after LeBron James elbowed Isaiah Stewart in the face, causing him to bleed. The 20-year-old big man quickly lost his cool and wanted to fight the superstar. He had to be held back multiple times by multiple people. Even then, he almost found his way to LeBron.
Had Stewart just accepted the foul, he wouldn’t be facing any trouble. However, the NBA has hit him with a two-game suspension without pay for “repeatedly and aggressively pursuing” LeBron in an “unsportsmanlike manner. For his role, the Lakers star will be suspended for just one game.
This marks the first time in LeBron’s 18-year career that he will be suspended. He will miss Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. This is only Stewart’s second season in the NBA and he will now be facing his first suspension. Had he not been held back so diligently and actually engaged LeBron, he may be facing a much longer suspension.
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LeBron Attempted to Apologize to Stewart
The news that LeBron is getting suspended should not come as a surprise. Had the brawl not broken out, he would’ve still been ejected due to the Flagrant 2 foul he committed on Stewart. Even though the Pistons big man was intent on trying to fight LeBron, the Lakers star still tried to reach out to Stewart and apologize after the game, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“I’m told LeBron James did try to track down Isaiah Stewart’s number post-game to apologize again and let him know it was an inadvertent hit,” Charania said on the Pat McAfee Show.
With the Lakers set to play the Pistons again next week, LeBron would clearly like this to be an isolated incident and isn’t trying to start a feud with a young play. Considering both players have yet to address the situation, the next matchup between the two teams just became much more fascinating.
Frank Vogel Explains How Fight Broke Out
As noted earlier, LeBron has never been suspended before. He doesn’t have a reputation as a dirty player and there’s no indication that he was intentionally trying to hurt Stewart. Head coach Frank Vogel had a chance to discuss exactly what led to the scuffle.
“It was unfortunate contact,” Vogel said after the game, via Silver Screen & Roll. “[LeBron] had an elbow to the ribcage, which was a foul and he was trying to shed the contact, and he had incidental contact. It was obviously enough for a Flagrant 2, but the reaction was what it was, and I think our guys did a good job protecting a teammate but not trying to escalate.”
All things considered, it was fortunate that no two players actually came to blows during the flair-up. This situation could’ve been much worse than it ended up being. Though LeBron is getting suspended, he avoided trying to confront Stewart when he was at his peak anger.