A venture capitalist who is also a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors was banned by the team from attending any of the remaining NBA Finals games and fined $500,000 after he shoved a Toronto Raptors player who fell into the crowd.
During Wednesday night’s Game 3 with the Raptors and Warriors, S-Curbed Capital managing partner Mark Stevens was caught on camera pushing Kyle Lowry’s shoulder after the Raptors point guard fell into people sitting courtside while trying to save the ball.
Lowry was seen in video posted on social media pointing at Stevens and shaking his head as he walked back onto the court. Stevens was then escorted from his seat.
The Warriors said in a statement Thursday that Stevens’ behavior does “not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization.” The NBA also announced in a joint statement with the Warriors that Stevens would be fined $500,000.
Stevens issued an apology on Thursday night saying he took “full responsibility” for his actions and was “embarrassed.” “What I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it,” Stevens said in the statement released by the Warriors and given to NBC Sports. “Mr. Lowry deserves better, and I have reached out today in an attempt to directly apologize to him and other members of the Raptors and Warriors organizations.”
“I made a mistake and I’m truly sorry. I need to be better and look forward to making it right,” Stevens said.
“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,” the Warriors said. “There is no place for such interaction between fans — or anyone — and players at an NBA game.”
The Warriors ended their statement by saying that Stevens “will not be in attendance at any of the remaining games of the 2019 NBA Finals.” They are reviewing the incident, their statement said.
The NBA, which called Stevens’ conduct “beyond unacceptable,” also said he will not be permitted to attend games as they review the incident.
According to S-Curbed Capital’s website, Stevens is a minority owner and executive board member of the Warriors, as well as a U.S. Olympic Committee Foundation trustee. Forbes estimated his net worth at $2.3 billion.
Sources close to the Warriors told NBC News that Stevens will likely be forced to sell his stake in the team before the start of next season.
The shove caught the attention of social media users and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who expressed his outrage in a lengthy Instagram post.
“There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL,” he wrote.
James went on to say that people who have floor seats should be well aware of what comes with sitting that close to the game, meaning balls and people can come flying into the seats.
“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,” he wrote. “Just think to yourself, what if @kyle_lowry7 would have reacted and put his hands back on him. You guys would be going CRAZY!!”
Prior to Stevens being identified, Lowry told The Associated Press that the man who pushed him repeatedly made vulgar comments to him after the athlete crashed into the sideline seats.
“There’s no place for that,” Lowry said. “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.”
After the Warriors announced that Stevens had been banned from attending games for the remainder of the Finals, James suggested that more needs to be done.
“Ok cool but still ain’t enough! They did exactly what they had to do. Get in front of it before anyone else and plus there’s only 4 games left(2 max in GS),” he tweeted.
Lowry finished Wednesday’s game with 23 points to help the Raptors beat the Warriors 123-109. The Raptors lead the best of seven series 2-1. Game 4 is Friday.
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