LeBron James spoke to the media Wednesday regarding his one-game suspension following an altercation during Sunday’s win against the Detroit Pistons. Although he understands why he was ejected, James does not believe a suspension was necessary.
James and Pistons big Isaiah Stewart were both ejected in the third quarter, marking only the second time James was ejected in his 19-season career. Announced Monday by the league, James was suspended for one game for “recklessly hitting” while the bloodied Stewart was suspended for two games for “escalating an on-court altercation” with unsportsmanlike conduct. James served his suspension against the New York Knicks on Tuesday.
“There was a boxout on the free throw line,” James recalled after the Lakers’ 124-116 win in overtime against the Indiana Pacers. “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 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. 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.”
James understood why he was ejected, but believes the suspension was over the top.
“I hate to see that, what escalated after that,” James continued. “I didn’t think it warranted (a suspension). I thought it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that. Having me, probably, still in the game and the excitement from the fans and what could possibly happen after that, obviously. But a suspension, I didn’t think it was warranted. But the league made that call, and we’re here today.”
The Pistons and Lakers will meet again in Los Angeles on Nov. 28.