NBA disciplinary officials slapped Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace with a seven-game suspension for a vicious elbow to the head of Oklahoma City guard James Harden.
The ban came two days after World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, drove his left elbow into the side of Harden's head during a game at Staples Centre arena.
"We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations," said commissioner David Stern.
World Peace once served one of the longest suspensions in league history – a 86-game ban for his role in a fight between Indiana players and Detroit Piston fans in November 2004.
The then Pacers player charged into the stands to attack a fan after someone threw an object at him, while other Pacer players brawled with Piston fans on the court.
Harden suffered a concussion in Sunday's incident and has yet to be cleared to play.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak called World Peace a "model citizen" who suffered a "lapse in judgement" which can't be condoned.
"Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers," Kupchak said. "Still, his most recent lapse in judgement is not to be condoned or accepted.
"His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well."
The suspension starts with the Lakers' final regular season game Thursday and extends into the post-season.
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