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Looking back on previous suspensions handed out to NBA stars

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The big talking point in the NBA this week will without doubt be the fracas seen during the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against Detroit Pistons. LeBron Jamesand Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart had to be separated after an incident that saw LeBron plant an elbow into Stewart’s face, starting an altercation with the Pistons’ center bloodied.

The two had to be ejected, with Stewart seemingly bound on fighting LeBron and was uncontrollable all through the melee. This incident came just a week after another ugly one involving Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Miami’s Markieff Morris and in both cases the NBA was swift in action, throwing out suspensions.

Jokic and LeBron each missed a game, while Stewart has been handed a two-game suspension. While these have been surprising incidents of lack of self control and anger management, they aren’t unique to just this season. A number of reigning and former MVPs have found themselves in the midst of melees that have led to suspensions.

The suspension of LeBron was evidently a message from the NBA that anyone can be suspended. While there was an option to just fine the player, the NBA management went for the heaviest punishment and his absence will be felt by both the fans and fellow players.

How these suspensions will affect the teams’ next games remains to be seen but definitely they will be accounted for in the next NBA previews and predictions on Wincomparator.


Here we examine some of the top NBA stars who were suspended after similar or close altercations:

Shaquille O’Neal

Between 1995 and 2002, Shaquille O’Neal was suspended four times, and for a total of six games.

The winner that he proved to be in those years, Shaq also courted controversy and serious lack of self restraint. In 1995, he hit Eric Montross and was suspended for one game. He did the same in 1997 this time to Greg Ostertag and got a one-game suspension.

In 1999, he was suspended for one game after fighting Charles Barkley then his biggest suspension was for three games in 2002 for punching Brad Miller.

Kevin Garnett

Another top star that had to be suspended over violent conduct is Kevin Garnett. In 2007, he got a one game suspension for a punch on Antonio McDyess, a year later he was off for a game for striking Andrew Bogut and more recently, in 2015, he was suspended for a game again after head-butting Dwight Howard.


Charles Barkley

This was one of the top players in the 90s but anger management caused him to miss three games. He was suspended for one game in 1990 over fighting Bill Laimbeer and the second suspension came six years later after fighting Charles Oakley.

The other time he was suspended was a further three years; he got a one-match ban after a fight with Shaquille O’Neal.

Kobe Bryant was suspended twice, in 2002 and 2007, while Giannis Antetokoumpo, James Harden, Steve Nash, Karl Malone, and Hakeem Olajuwon have all been suspended once.

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