LeBron James on Striking Isaiah Stewart: 'I Didn't Think it Warranted a Suspension'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 25, 2021

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 21: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers is ejected from the game against the Detroit Pistons after delivering a blow to Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons during the third quarter at Little Caesars Arena on November 21, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was suspended for one game after catching Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart with an elbow when the two teams met Sunday. 

James served that suspension Tuesday and returned Wednesday evening, scoring 39 points in the Lakers' 124-116 win over the Indiana Pacers. After the game, he told reporters he didn't think he deserved to be suspended:

Michael J. Duarte @michaeljduarte

LeBron James said he tried to do a swim move to get Isaiah Stewart’s elbow/arm off of him and knew he hit him in the face right away and tried to apologize. “I’m not that kind of player. I didn’t think it warranted a suspension.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lakers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lakers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LakeShow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LakeShow</a>

James' teammate, Anthony Davis, was also surprised by the suspension.

"I don't think anyone thought he was going to be suspended, to be honest. ... It was an accident. I mean, he accidentally hit [Stewart] in the face," he told reporters. "But I guess the report came out that his hit to the face caused an incident, which is weird because he can't control how a guy's gonna react. I mean, guys get hit in the face all the time, and we're saying that caused the incident?"

You can judge whether James deserved his suspension for yourself:

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Lakers’ LeBron James ejected for this blow to face of Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart <a href="https://t.co/fsRtNJgekF">pic.twitter.com/fsRtNJgekF</a>

Stewart was irate after the elbow, repeatedly trying to get after James. It took multiple teammates, staffers and security guards to corral him. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

LeBron and Isaiah Stewart get into it 😳<br><br>Wow. <a href="https://t.co/VJFntCo6cY">pic.twitter.com/VJFntCo6cY</a>

Both players were ejected from the contest, and Stewart was suspended for two games.

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey defended the young big man after the game. 

"I told him, 'Don't let this define who you are. It doesn't define your game whatsoever. Keep your head [up] and don't get a reputation afterward,'" he told reporters. "I feel for the young man because he's such a competitor and plays so hard. He's a great kid. He felt like he got a cheap shot across his brow. On the street, it would be a different story. It's no reflection on who Isaiah Stewart is whatsoever."