Shaquille O’Neal Believes LeBron James is Not a Dirty Player but Supports Isaiah Stewart for Retaliating

Published 11/24/2021, 12:27 AM EST


The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the New York Knicks 106-100. While some stars did struggle, the big reason for the defeat was the absence of LeBron James. The ‘King’ was suspended for one game after his on-court altercation with Isiah Stewart during their match against the Detroit Pistons. However, while many believe Stewart overreacted, Shaq thinks otherwise and even supported Stewart’s actions.

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Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most dominating players in NBA history. The four-time champion gained his legendary stature, courtesy of his heroics in the league, which also made him a member of the hall of fame.

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However, back in his playing days, he was not a cool head on the floor, either. Shaq has had multiple altercations in his time, including one with fellow NBA on TNT analyst, Charles Barkley.

Nov 21, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) walks off the court after being ejected from the game during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

While reacting to the LeBron-Stewart Altercation, Shaq thought Stewart reacted just as any other person would. However, he doesn’t feel like LeBron is a dirty player either.

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Shaquille O’Neal comments on the LeBron James-Isiah Stewart altercation

In a recent episode of NBA on TNT, Shaq opened up on LeBron James’ altercation with Stewart. While everyone else believed Stewart overreacted, Shaq was of a different opinion. He stated that Stewart reacted exactly as he should have after being hit in the face.

Shaq said, “LeBron’s been in the league what 17. 18 years, he’s never been that guy. Now Stewart reacted like he was supposed to react. You hit someone in the face…I wanna fight you.” Shaq further defended Stewart, saying, “Somebody hit you in the face you either got to hit him back or act like you want to hit him back. There’s only two options.”

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Fellow analyst Kenny Smith did not agree with Shaq’s take on the altercation. While he didn’t necessarily have a problem with the way he reacted, Kenny pointed out his reaction was not immediate. Right after the hit, when LeBron James tried to check up on Stewart, he went up to him and started talking, but he was calm and walked away, eventually. However, suddenly, Stewart went charging into LeBron, dropping anyone who tried to stop him.

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The situation escalated from there on and things only got worse. Jamal Crawford even said that he has never seen Stewart react that way, ever. Reggie Miller believed the taste of blood is what got the fire going inside Isaiah Stewart. Looking at how it all went down, do you think Isaiah Stewart reacted in the right way? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

531 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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