Venture capitalist Mark Stevens has been banned from attending any NBA games through the end of the 2020 season and fined $500,000 after last night shoving Toronto Raptor’s player Kyle Lowry and hurling expletives at him after Lowry crashed into a row of seats.
Notably, Stevens was not impacted by Lowry but rather can be seen on video rising out of his chair to push the NBA star as he tried to regain his footing.
The episode is an embarrassment to the Warriors, as Stevens, a former Sequoia Capital partner who spent nearly 23 years with the firm and today manages his own money through a family office called S-Cubed Capital, is a minority owner of the team as well as an executive board member.
At first, the Warriors planned only to ban Stevens for the rest of the NBA Finals, issuing a statement about his behavior this morning that reads:
Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization. We’re extremely disappointed in his actions and, along with Mr. Stevens, offer our sincerest 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. Review of this matter is ongoing.
Over the course of the day, however, basketball fans and, more importantly, players, had begun expressing outrage over what they considered to be too mild a punishment for Stevens. Among the most vocal: LeBron James, who has been active on Twitter and Instagram today, expressing his frustration that the NBA wasn’t doing enough.
On Instagram, for example, James wrote earlier: “There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL. . . 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 said. “He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that Something needs to be done ASAP!”
Lowry hasn’t commented since the news broke that Stevens is the individual who shoved him. He was clearly shaken last night by the incident, though, saying of the aggressive fan, whose identity was discovered by Axios this morning: “The fans have a place; we love our fans. But fans like that shouldn’t be allowed to be in there, because it’s not right. I can’t do nothing to protect myself. But the league does a good job, and hopefully they ban him from all NBA games forever.”
In barring Stevens, the NBA today cited his “pushing and directing obscene language” toward Lowry.
According to NBC reporter Dylan Byers, Stevens may also be forced to sell his shares in the team before the start of the next season.
Stevens was featured in March of this year on Forbes’s list of the world’s (then) 2,153 billionaires. Indeed, Stevens is believed by the outlet to have amassed a $2.3 billion fortune over the years. He bought a stake in the Warriors’ franchise in 2013.
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).
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 6, 2019