LeBron James thinks everything got blown way out of proportion.
To hear LeBron tell it, the altercation with Isaiah Stewart was a battle for rebounding position where “my hand grazed his face” and everything spiraled from there — with a bloody Stewart trying to fight LeBron — and resulted in a “bulls***” suspension.
The Lakers and Pistons had to be separated multiple times after this play between LeBron and Isaiah Stewart. pic.twitter.com/im0o7fXeoI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 22, 2021
LeBron spoke about the incident for the first time Wednesday night, after he had taken over late, forced overtime and led the Lakers to a comeback win over the Pacers. Here are his quotes, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“Rob [Pelinka] called me. I missed his call,” James told ESPN of the Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager dialing in the bad news. “As soon as when I checked my phone and it was a missed call, I was like, ‘I know I’m suspended.’ I mean, it’s some bulls***. But whatever….
“There was a boxout on the free throw line. His elbow got kind of high, it got me — if you look, if you watch the film — it got me off balanced a little bit, and his elbow lifted my arm, and I basically tried to swim move, swim down on him, on his arm,” James said. “And when I swung down on his arm, he got off balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face. And I knew right away. So, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head. So, I went over to apologize to him, and obviously, you guys saw what happened after that. But definitely accidental.”
LeBron said he understood the ejection at the time but didn’t think this warranted him being suspended. It was the first time LeBron has been suspended in his 19-year NBA career.
Lakers’ LeBron James ejected for this blow to face of Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart pic.twitter.com/fsRtNJgekF
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 22, 2021
While LeBron reportedly tried to reach out, LeBron said he had not spoken with Stewart since the incident.
The Lakers host the Pistons again on Sunday at Staples Center.