Mark Stevens, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, is forbidden from attending any other NBA Finals games this season after shoving Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during Game 3 on Wednesday night.
Lowry, in an effort to keep a loose ball inbounds, collided with fans in the first row at Oracle Arena. Stevens, seated a few seats over from where Lowry ended up, gave Lowry a left-handed shove.
A day later, after Stevens’ initial discipline was announced, LeBron James sounded off on the incident on his Instagram account. Understandably, James was not pleased with what occurred and said “something needs to be done” as soon as possible.
“There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL. There’s so many issues here. When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor and if you don’t know it’s on the back on the ticket itself that states the guidelines. But he himself being a fan but more importantly PART-OWNER of the Warriors knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for,” James wrote. “He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that something needs to be done ASAP! A swift action for his actions.”
In his message, James pondered what would have happened if Lowry would have reacted physically against Stevens, who was ejected from the game.
“Just think to yourself, what if Kyle Lowry would have reacted and put his hands back on him. You guys would be going CRAZY!! Calling for him to damn near be put in jail let alone being suspended for the rest of the Finals all because he protected himself,” James wrote. “I’ve been quiet throughout the whole NBA playoffs watching every game (haven’t missed one) but after I saw what I saw last night, took time to let it manifest into my thinking. I couldn’t and wouldn’t be quiet on this! #ProtectThePlayers #PrivilegeAintWelcomeHere”
Warriors, NBA react quickly
While the team was quick to act by banning him from further Finals games, Stevens, a longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist who joined the Golden State ownership group in 2013, could face further discipline from the NBA.
“Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization,” the Warriors said in a statement on Thursday. “We’re extremely disappointed in his actions and, along with Mr. Stevens, offer our sincere apology to Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct. There is no place for such interaction between fans — or anyone — and players at an NBA game.”
Later Thursday, the NBA said Stevens would be banned from games while the incident was under investigated.
“A team representative must be held to the highest possible standard and the conduct of Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens last night was beyond unacceptable and has no place in our league. As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games,” NBA executive VP of communications Mark Bass said.
After the game, and before Stevens was identified, Lowry told reporters that Stevens said “vulgar language” to him.
“There's no place for that,” Lowry told reporters. “He had no reason to touch me. He had no reason to reach over two seats and then say some vulgar language to me. There's no place for people like that in our league, and hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game.”
One source claims Stevens told Lowry, several times, “Go fuck yourself.” https://t.co/ijLgQqgONA— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 6, 2019
The Raptors won Wednesday night’s game 123-109 to take a 2-1 advantage in the series.
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