Isaiah Stewart.Carlos Osorio/AP Images
Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart was ejected for trying to fight LeBron James after a hit to his face.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey said he told Stewart, 20, not to let the moment define him.
Stewart is a hard-working fan-favorite who is also known for being polite and coachable.
Isaiah Stewart lost his cool on Sunday.
During the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers, Stewart and LeBron James got tangled up on a box-out. As James tried to wrestle free, he struck Stewart in the face. Stewart began bleeding and repeatedly tried to chase down James to fight, or at least confront him.
At one point, Stewart was being led away from the court when he charged back at James and the Lakers. It took several security guards, Pistons players, and coaches to restrain him.
Stewart is a second-year player, still just 20 years old. He has become a fan-favorite in Detroit and a productive player for his energy on offense and defense.
And though Pistons fans may know him well, he is still relatively anonymous to the larger sports world.
It’s for this reason, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey told reporters that he told Stewart not to let the moment define him.
“I told him, ‘Don’t let this define who you are,'” Casey told reporters, according to The Athletic’s James Edwards III. “‘It doesn’t define your game whatsoever. Keep your head (up) and don’t get a reputation afterward.
“I feel for the young man because he’s such a competitor and plays so hard. He’s a great kid. He felt like he got a cheap shot across his brow. On the street, it would be a different story.
“It’s no reflection on who Isaiah Stewart is whatsoever.”
According to Edwards, Stewart is a far different person than the one on display on Sunday who went viral for trying to attack the face of basketball for the last two decades.
According to Edwards, during media sessions, Stewart is polite and often says “sir” or “ma’am” in his answers. Stewart is also known for being hard-working and coachable.
“Stewart isn’t the maniac you saw running around on television,” Edwards wrote. “That’s a misconception. He’s actually everything you want in a basketball player and, from all accounts, in a man.”
Indeed, Stewart will still have plenty of opportunities to avoid being known as “The player who tried to fight LeBron James.” He will likely serve a suspension for the fracas, but when he returns to the court, he’ll have some damage to repair.
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