NBA bans Warriors investor who pushed Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals
Verbal altercations between NBA fans and players aren’t new. But this case is a little different.
In Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was pushed by a man sitting in the front row at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
It turns out the “fan” is Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens. He won’t be attending any more games in this series — and perhaps longer.
On Thursday, the NBA announced it was banning Stevens from attending any NBA games while the incident is reviewed.
“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,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement. “As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games.”
Lowry, going after a loose ball, jumped into the stands. Stevens, whom Lowry didn’t land on, shoved him. Lowry called for security, and Stevens was escorted out.
The Warriors released a statement on Stevens earlier on Thursday.
“Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization,” the statement 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. There is no place for such interaction between fans — or anyone — and players at an NBA game.
“Mr. Stevens will not be in attendance at any of the remaining games of the 2019 NBA Finals.”
The team said that review of this matter is ongoing.
Lowry was asked about the incident after the game, which Toronto won 123-109.
“As for that fan, 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, and hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game.”
Stevens is listed in the Warriors media guide as one of the organization’s executive board members. It’s not immediately known how much of a stake Stevens has in the team.
The NBA Players Association will be closely monitoring the Warriors and the league’s investigation into the situation, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement.
“The NBPA has previously expressed its support of a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy with respect to verbal and/or physical assaults perpetrated against players,” Roberts said. “Stevens’ status as a member of the ownership group does not alter that view.”
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James weighed in on Thursday, saying that what Stevens did was “so uncalled for.”
“He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for (that’s) something needs to be done ASAP!” James said in an Instagram post. “A swift action for his actions.”
The Raptors lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.