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Pacers' Stephenson apologizes for "choke" gesture


Posted May 19 2012 3:35PM - Updated May 19 2012 7:26PM

 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Pacers reserve guard Lance Stephenson apologized for making a choking gesture toward LeBron James.

The NBA's MVP wasn't so forgiving.

In fact, he didn't even know he had been mocked.

James said Saturday that he was unaware that Stephenson had been caught by cameras in front of Indiana's bench wrapping his hands around his throat after the Miami star after a missed technical foul during Game 3 on Thursday night.

So when James was asked for his reaction, he dismissed Stephenson.

"Lance Stephenson? You want a quote about Lance Stephenson?" James said after practice. "I'm not even going to give him the time. Knock it off."

James' slam aside, Stephenson was contrite in offering an apology.

"I was wrong and disrespectful to my teammates, the Miami Heat and their organization," he told NBA.com. "I'm sorry that I did that. It was very disrespectful. I'll never do it again."

Indiana coach Frank Vogel said he didn't have to seek out Stephenson for an explanation of his actions because the second-year guard approached him first.

"He came to me before I could even get to him and apologized to me for being a distraction," Vogel said. "He knows it was wrong, and I agree with him 100 percent it was wrong. It's not something we condone. He's a really good kid, he has come a long way with his maturity in his two years. I fully support who he is as a guy and a player and him being one of our guys."

Vogel wants his players on the bench to be engaged and supportive, not rude.

"I want that kind of enthusiasm on the bench. I just don't want it to go over the top," he said. "We're the new Pacers and everything we do is done with class and dignity and respect and showing respect to our opponent. He was over the line and he knows he made a mistake and we move on."

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