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Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart arrested for assault after punching Suns’ Drew Eubanks before game

Phoenix police have set a Feb. 23 court date for Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart, who was arrested on Feb. 14 after punching Phoenix Suns center Drew Eubanks. Stewart was released after being issued a citation for a misdemeanor assault, according to Phoenix police.

The full statement from the Phoenix Police Department:

Detectives are investigating an assault that happened late this afternoon between two professional basketball players while in the parking tunnel of the arena in downtown Phoenix. 

Around 4:45 p.m. Phoenix police officers were working in a security capacity during a Suns home game at Footprint Arena when they were called to a fight between two players inside the arena’s parking lot. When the officers arrived, they were directed by security to the players involved. The players were identified as 27-year-old Drew Eubanks and 22-year-old Isaiah Stewart. 

Officers spoke to both players involved and a number of people who witnesses the incident. They learned there was an argument between both players as they arrived at the arena. Witnesses said the argument escalated when they saw Stewart punch Eubanks, causing a minor injury. Both men were separated by security which ended the fight. 

Detectives responded to investigate the incident and collect evidence. Stewart was arrested for assault and issued a citation and released. The investigation remains active.

The Pistons do not have a game on Feb. 23, but are scheduled to play at the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 22 and at home vs. the Orlando Magic on Feb. 24. Stewart has not played since Jan. 28 due to an ankle injury, and it’s unclear when he’ll be back on the floor, regardless of his legal troubles. 

Suns beat writer Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic spoke to Eubanks after the incident. According to Eubanks, Stewart approached him as he was heading to the Suns’ locker room. They “had words,” and according to Eubanks, Stewart sucker punched him.

Fights in the NBA have become a rarity in modern times. They will occur on the court from time to time, and occasionally, disputes on the court will escalate behind the scenes after the game. However, pre-game fights of this nature are nearly nonexistent. One notable incident occurred in 2000, when Charles Oakley, then playing for the Toronto Raptors, was suspended three games for punching Jeff McInnis of the Clippers at a morning shootaround. Otherwise, few such fights are known to have happened.

Stewart has been involved in one notable on-court fight. That came back in 2021, when he was suspended two games for an incident with LeBron James. James elbowed Stewart in the face while fighting for rebounding position during a free throw, and Stewart escalated the situation by trying to chase after James after being separated. That is the only time he has been suspended in his career, and all of his other fines have come from technical fouls or ejections.

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