The NBA has handed down punishment for Sunday night’s altercation between LeBron James and the Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart, with James receiving a one-game suspension. This is his first-ever suspension in his 19-year career.
Here’s the official statement from the league, which says James is suspended “without pay for recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation.”
James’ suspension comes on the heels of his second career ejection, which occurred Sunday after he was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul for bloodying the second-year Pistons big man in the face while battling for a rebound in the third quarter.
Stewart, who was ejected from the game for drawing two technical fouls after he had to be held back multiple times by Detroit personnel as he tried to confront LeBron, has been suspended for two games.
Following the game, referee Scott Foster offered up his breakdown of the fracas. “Upon the free throw the initial contact (was) deemed a loose ball foul by Isaiah Stewart and then a dead ball act by LeBron James, deemed a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2 for unnecessary and excessive contact above the shoulder,” Foster said during a postgame interview with The Athletic’s James Edwards III.
Meanwhile, LeBron’s teammate Anthony Davis maintained that James’ actions were not intentional. “Everyone in the league knows LeBron’s not a dirty guy,” Davis said. “In fact, when he knew he hit him, as soon as he did it, he looked back at him like, ‘Oh, my bad. I didn’t try to do it.’”
James reportedly tried to make contact with Stewart after the game but it’s unclear if they spoke.