James called the contact “definitely accidental” and said he attempted to speak with Stewart before things got out of control.
He made a triumphant return to the court following his one-day suspension, helping the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Indiana Pacers. The game wasn’t without its own controversy after James had two hecklers tossed from courtside, but that moment was nothing compared to his altercation with Isaiah Stewart of the Detroit Pistons earlier this week.
James made contact with Stewart’s face while turning, and it is a move that has been heavily debated by fans, sports players, and commentators. Some saw it as an accident, others as a purposeful move, and now LeBron James s speaking about the incident for himself.
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“I think it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that,” said James tonight. “You know, with me still in the game and excitement from the fans and what could possibly happen after that, obviously, but a suspension, I didn’t think it was warranted.”
He called the hit “definitely accidental,” adding he realized the contact may have been serious and tried to make amends but Stewart was too fired up. “I knew right away I had caught some part of his head, so I went over to apologize to him and, obviously, you guys see what happened after that.”
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Detailing his side of the story, LeBron said it all began because he was “off balance a little bit, and his elbow lifted my arm…and I basically tried to swing down on him, on his arm. And when I swing down on his arm, he got off balance and the side of my hand, you know, grazed his face.”
Skip Bayless has been berating James since the play turned into an on-court scuffle, while LeBron’s peers have been coming to his defense because they say he has never been a dirty player. Watch LeBron James share his side of the story below.