LeBron James believes he got a raw deal.
The Los Angeles Lakers star returned from a one-game NBA suspension on Wednesday in a win over the Indiana Pacers. He does not think he should have been excluded in the first place.
LeBron: Hand ‘grazed’ Stewart’s face
James addressed his exclusion in his post-match media session, giving his side of the incident that caused blood to run from Detroit Pistons striker Isaiah Stewart’s face on Sunday. James said the contact was random and that he was just “grazing” Stewart’s face.
“His elbow got a little high, got me out of balance a little bit,” James said. “His elbow lifted my arm. I was basically trying to swim, moving down on him on his arm. When I went down on his arm, he got out of balance, and the left side of my hand grazed his face … Totally probably by chance. “
As for his exclusion from Tuesday’s loss to the New York Knicks?
“I thought it justified an expulsion because of what happened after that,” James continued. “To have me probably still in the game and the excitement from the fans and what could happen next. But a suspension, I did not think it was justified. But the league made that call.”
James was more sluggish in his assessment of the league’s decision while talking to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on Wednesday night.
“I mean, it’s some bull ***,” James told McMenamin. “So what.”
Was LeBron’s suspension justified?
While James received a one-game exclusion, the NBA hit Stewart with a two-game exclusion after he reacted as one would expect someone to respond after being cracked in the face while boxing out for a rebound. If you somehow missed it, here’s the answer that resulted in Stewart’s ban.
While Stewart understandably was upset, the NBA can not let that answer slip without a suspension of some kind. Just as it can not let James go unchecked too wildly to swing his elbow and bloody an opponent’s face – whatever his intention.