Sports

Lakers’ LeBron James suspended: Barkley, Shaq and the complete history of NBA MVPs suspended for fighting



The NBA has announced that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will be suspended for one game for fighting Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart on Sunday.

The four-time MVP got tangled up with Stewart on a free throw and struck the second-year big man in the face, causing severe bleeding. Stewart went after James but the two were separated, both being ejected from the game.

MORE: LeBron James ejected for bloodying Isaiah Stewart in Lakers-Pistons scuffle

According to Pro Sports Transactions, this marks the first time in his 19-year career that James has been suspended by the NBA.

He joins a fairly long list of 11 other NBA MVPs who have been suspended for fighting or playing a role in a fight. Below you can find each scenario along with the year, the number of games suspended and the reason for the suspension.

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How many NBA MVPs have been suspended for fighting?

All records are via Pro Sports Transactions.

NBA MVPs suspended for fighting
Player Year Games Suspended Reason
LeBron James 2021 1 Striking Isaiah Stewart
Nikola Jokic 2021 1 Pushing Markieff Morris
Giannis Antetokounmpo 2020 1 Headbutting Mo Wagner
  2015 1 Shoving Mike Dunleavy Jr.
James Harden 2015 1 Kicking LeBron James in groin
Kobe Bryant 2007 1 Striking Marko Jaric
  2002 2 Fighting Reggie Miller
Dirk Nowitzki 2008 1 Hitting Matt Harpring
  2008 1 Hitting Andrei Kirilenko
Steve Nash 2008 1 Escalating fight between Rockets-Suns
Kevin Garnett 2015 1 Headbutting Dwight Howard
  2008 1 Striking Andrew Bogut
  2007 1 Punching Antonio McDyess
Shaquille O’Neal 2002 3 Punching Brad Miller
  1999 1 Fighting Charles Barkley
  1997 1 Hitting Greg Ostertag
  1995 1 Hitting Eric Montross
Karl Malone 1999 1 Punching Anthony Johnson
Hakeem Olajuwon 1998 1 Fighting Antonio McDyess
Charles Barkley 1999 1 Fighting Shaquille O’Neal
  1996 1 Fighting Charles Oakley
  1990 1 Fighting Bill Lambeer

O’Neal has been suspended more times than any other NBA MVP for fighting, tallying four different suspensions and a total of six games missed due to altercations.

Barkley and Garnett have each been suspended three times apiece, while players like Malone and Bryant could have a higher total if you included instances where they were ejected and suspended for elbowing.

Nash remains the only NBA MVP who has been suspended for escalating a fight, although Stephen Curry received a fine for the same reason back in 2013.

James joins reigning MVP Nikola Jokic as the second award-winner to receive a suspension for fighting this season.




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