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
PlayerYearGames SuspendedReason
LeBron James20211Striking Isaiah Stewart
Nikola Jokic20211Pushing Markieff Morris
Giannis Antetokounmpo20201Headbutting Mo Wagner
 20151Shoving Mike Dunleavy Jr.
James Harden20151Kicking LeBron James in groin
Kobe Bryant20071Striking Marko Jaric
 20022Fighting Reggie Miller
Dirk Nowitzki20081Hitting Matt Harpring
 20081Hitting Andrei Kirilenko
Steve Nash20081Escalating fight between Rockets-Suns
Kevin Garnett20151Headbutting Dwight Howard
 20081Striking Andrew Bogut
 20071Punching Antonio McDyess
Shaquille O’Neal20023Punching Brad Miller
 19991Fighting Charles Barkley
 19971Hitting Greg Ostertag
 19951Hitting Eric Montross
Karl Malone19991Punching Anthony Johnson
Hakeem Olajuwon19981Fighting Antonio McDyess
Charles Barkley19991Fighting Shaquille O’Neal
 19961Fighting Charles Oakley
 19901Fighting 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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