LeBron James’ elbow on Isaiah Stewart on Sunday has been the talk of the NBA over the past couple of days. The incident led to a mass brawl between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons and ejections for both players. James and Stewart have since received suspensions, James one game, and Stewart two games. Former NBA player Jay Williams believes the league got the decision wrong.
Williams spoke strongly against the league’s decision to give LeBron James a less severe suspension to Isaiah Stewart on ESPN’s ‘KJM’ show.
“They got it wrong. I honestly don’t give a damn what anybody says about this one. I said yesterday that I thought LeBron James should be suspended. The league got it right when LeBron James got suspended. But the reason why I didn’t think Isaiah Stewart should be suspended is because Isaiah Stewart did not come into contact with anybody on the Lakers team. I understand the reaction might have been a quote un quote ‘poor example for the league.’ You may not like the fact the Isaiah Stewart was trying to get to LeBron James. But once again it was him and his teammates.”Jay Williams
The Lakers won the game 121-116 despite being down by 15 points going into the fourth quarter. The recovery was primarily thanks to Anthony Davis, who starred on both ends of the court. The big man had 30 points, ten rebounds, six assists, five blocks & four steals.
However, despite this impressive stat line, everyone focused on LeBron’s elbow on Stewart and the 20-year-olds subsequent reaction. Jay Williams believes that the fault for the situation should lie solely with LeBron and not the sophomore Stewart.
“For me, LeBron James if you give him one game [suspension] then fine. Isaiah Stewart give him no games. I just thought it kind of sets an example that LeBron James. Hey you can do what you can do, you make a ill-advised play. You can make a dirty play. We’re gonna repremand you. Then, hey this kid reacted the wrong way. Even though he didn’t come in contact with anybody. And we’re gonna give him a two game suspension. I thought it was a missed opportunity by the NBA.”Jay Williams
LeBron James will miss the Lakers’ trip to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks, while Isaiah Stewart will miss the Pistons games against the Miami Heat & Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite being 36 years old and playing in his 19th NBA season, this is LeBron James’ first suspension. Many will say that blame should lie with the player who delivered the elbow, but Stewart’s reaction was unacceptable. Yeah, he may not have got his hands on James or any other Lakers players but were it not for his teammates/coaches stopping him, who knows what damage he might have caused. It is a fair punishment on both sides.