Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens has been banned for a year from attending NBA games and team activities after his altercation with Raptors guard Kyle Lowry in Golden State’s Game 3 loss at Oracle Arena, the NBA and the Warriors announced Thursday.
This means Stevens, who has also been fined $500,000, won’t be able to take part in Golden State’s debut season at Chase Center in San Francisco. The punishment came down after the NBA and the Warriors conducted an investigation into Stevens’ behavior in Game 3.
Early in the fourth quarter Wednesday, while pursuing a loose ball, Lowry collided with two fans sitting in courtside seats and knocked one of them back. He was on top of the fans and trying to stand up and return to the court when Stevens reached over and shoved Lowry in the left arm.
Fan pushes Kyle Lowry after he falls into the crowd
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 6, 2019
Lowry glared at Stevens and yelled to referee Marc Davis, who listened but didn’t take any action against Stevens. Moments later, Stevens was ejected, according to Warriors team spokesman Raymond Ridder.
“Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization,” the Warriors said in a news release Thursday morning. “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.”
Lowry said “there’s no place for that” when asked about the incident in his postgame news conference.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, left, speaks next to Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob during an awards ceremony to recognize the team’s NBA championship prior to a basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Oakland, Calif.
“He had no reason to touch me,” the Raptors guard said. “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.”
Mike Bass, NBA executive vice president of communications, echoed Lowry in saying that Stevens’ actions have “no place in our league.”
“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,” Bass said in a statement.
Stevens became a minority owner in 2013, taking over the share once held by current Sacramento Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive.
Stevens was a partner at Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firm that backed Apple, Cisco, Google and Yahoo, from 1989 to 2012, after which he started his own firm, S-Cubed. He currently serves on the board of Santa Clara chipmaker Nvidia and the University of Southern California’s Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Mary, have donated more than $100 million to USC. Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.3 billion.
Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James called for “a swift action for his actions” in an Instagram post. James wrote that Stevens, as a part-owner, should know the rules for sitting courtside, and the guidelines are on the back of the ticket, so there are no excuses.
“He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside, so for that Something needs to be done ASAP!” James wrote, adding that if Lowry had reacted by putting his hands on Stevens, people would call for him to be not only suspended but “damn near be put in jail.”
The National Basketball Players Association said in a statement that it is “closely monitoring” the investigations by the Warriors and the NBA and “anxiously await their conclusions and response.”
“The NBPA has previously expressed its support of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy with respect to verbal and/or physical assaults perpetrated against Players,” the statement said. “Stevens’ status as a member of the ownership group does not alter that view.”
Photo: Lachlan Cunningham / Getty Images
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