LeBron James thinks he got a raw deal.
The Los Angeles Lakers star returned from a one-game NBA suspension on Wednesday in a win over Indiana Pacers. He doesn't think he should have been banned in the first place.
LeBron: Hand 'grazed' Stewart's face
James addressed his suspension in his postgame media session and gave his side of the incident that left blood pouring from the face of Detroit Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart on Sunday. James said that the contact was accidental, and that he just "grazed" Stewart's face.
"His elbow got kinda high, got me off balance a little bit," James said. "His elbow lifted my arm. I basically tried to swim move down on him on his arm. When I went down on his arm, he got off balance, and the left side of my hand grazed his face. ... Definitely accidental."
As for his suspension for Tuesday's loss to the New York Knicks?
"I thought it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that," James continued. "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."
James was more blunt in his assessment of the league's decision while speaking with ESPN's Dave McMenamin Wednesday night.
"I mean, it's some bulls***," James told McMenamin. "But whatever."
Was LeBron's suspension warranted?
While James received a one-game ban, the NBA hit Stewart with a two-game suspension after he responded like one might expect someone to respond after being cracked across the face while boxing out for a rebound. In case you somehow missed it, here's the response that resulted in Stewart's ban.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 22, 2021
While Stewart was understandably upset, the NBA can't let that response slide without a suspension of some kind. Just like it can't let James go unchecked for wildly swinging his elbow and bloodying an opponent's face — regardless of his intent.