LeBron James Addresses Isaiah Stewart Incident And First Career Suspension

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James came back from his one-game suspension in triumphant style, dropping 39 points against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

James served the first suspension of his career after hitting Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart in the face a few days earlier. The now infamous altercation resulted in the ejection of both players. Stewart was also given a two-game ban for his attempts to attack James in revenge.

The 36-year-old All-Star set his best performance of the season in his first game after the incident, leading the Lakers to a much-needed victory just before Thanksgiving. James took over late in the game, driving three deep threes in the fourth quarter and overtime to secure a 124-116 win.

After doing this, he first addressed the brawl with Stewart.

“What happened was there was a box-out on the free-throw line,” James said. “His elbow got a little high, it brought me – if you watch, if you watch the movie – it knocked me out a little bit and his elbow lifted my arm and I was basically trying to swim, move, swim towards him , on his arm and when I swung on his arm he lost balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face.

“And I knew right away. So I knew right away that I had caught part of his head. So I went to him to apologize to him, and you clearly saw what happened next. But definitely by accident. Like last night’s play on Russ, just like Sabonis’ play tonight, accidental hit on the [face]. Definitely not that type of player so I hate to see what escalated after that.

“I didn’t think it was justified [a suspension]. I thought it warranted a removal because of what happened next. That I’m probably still in the game and the excitement of the fans and what could happen next, of course. But I didn’t think a suspension was justified.

“But the league made that decision and we are here today.”

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel called James’ suspension “unfortunate” and explained that “LeBron is one of the most stylish guys in the league.” Meanwhile, Anthony Davis said he was surprised by the punishment the LA superstar received.

Davis: James is not a ‘dirty guy’

Davis came on James’ defense after the incident in the win over the Pistons. The 28-year-old All-Star insisted his teammate had no intention of hitting Stewart in the face.

“Everyone in the league knows that LeBron is not a dirty guy,” Davis said. “As soon as he did it, he looked back at him and said to him ‘my fault, I didn’t try.'”

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