Sunday night was a black mark on LeBron James (36 years) sports record. The Los Angeles Lakers player was expelled from the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons after the star elbowed center Isaiah Stewart in the face, which ended up bleeding. This foul in the third period of the match, which the Los Angeles team won (116-121), resulted in LeBron being sent off; the second in 19 years of professional career.
The Lakers star was booked with a flagrant grade 2 foul, which penalizes players for unnecessarily violent contact. Stewart was also expelled from the game after trying to start a fight with LeBron in the aftermath of the coup. The Detroit Pistons player came to chase his rival down the court and had to be stopped by his own teammates and the medical team. The first time LeBron was ejected from a professional league game was in 2017, when he was still playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In a game against the Miami Heat, the player protested with violent gestures for a foul ruled by referee Kane Fitzgerald.
Yesterday’s event at Little Caesars Arena could have ended much worse. In 2004, during a game between the same Detroit team and the Indiana Pacers, a few seconds from the end of the duel, a fight began between the two rivals that was fueled by the launch of a soda thrown from the stands. The end result was a massive conflict on the court, with fans involved and some of the strongest penalties in NBA history as a result. Nine of the players who played the game that day were forced to withdraw for 146 games.
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