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LeBron James Suspended for First Time

One-game suspension issued after strike to opponent's face
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2021 12:30 AM CST
An Unfortunate First for LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James plays against the Boston Celtics during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – During the Los Angeles Lakers' Sunday game against the Detroit Pistons, LeBron James' arm made contact with opponent Isaiah Stewart's face, leading to blood, a game stoppage, and both players being ejected from the game—just the second time James has ever been ejected. And now, for the first time ever, James has been suspended, CNN reports. The one-game suspension without pay was issued for "recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation," according to a statement from the NBA.

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Stewart was suspended for two games without pay for "repeatedly and aggressively pursuing [James] in an unsportsmanlike manner," thus escalating the altercation. The game stoppage, which CNN says went on for an "extended" amount of time, involved coaches and players holding Stewart back from going at James on multiple occasions. Per ESPN, the suspensions will cost Stewart about $45,000 in salary, while James will forfeit around $284,000. (In strange news, this means the Lakers will end up saving $532,508 thanks to the luxury tax credit they'll receive because of James' docked pay; CBS Sports explains it.)

The two were jostling for position on a free throw when their arms apparently got intertwined and James swung. A teammate says he doesn't think James did it on purpose, but a Pistons' coach says Stewart felt like a "cheap shot" was taken. CBS Sports agrees that the hit looked intentional, and says James seems to have gotten off easy, since JR Smith was suspended two games in 2015 for a near-identical incident. (Read more LeBron James stories.)

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