The NBA Finals will continue on Friday from Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, but minority owner Mark Stevens will not be allowed in the building.
During Game 3, Stevens pushed Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry and reportedly shouted obscenities at him as he fell into the first row of court side seats.
Stevens was identified during the game and ejected, the original response from the Golden State Warriors organization was to not allow him back in for the rest of The Finals. After a strong opinion from LeBron James, supporting that of Lowry from the night before, the league intervened and now Stevens is on a minimum of a one-year ban.
Kyle Lowry was shaking his head after a courtside fan pushed him when he fell into the crowd. pic.twitter.com/5SwQv3hdnN
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 6, 2019
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🗣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. 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. Just think to yourself, what if @kyle_lowry7 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 was protected himself. I’ve been quite 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
The Warriors released a statement, which offered an apology to Lowry and the rest of the Raptors:
“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 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. Review of this matter is ongoing.”
“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,” Lowry said in post game. ”And hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game.”
The NBA would later issue a ban, effective immediately, and provided a $500,000 fine as a team executive. The ban will run through the 2019-20 season and postseason.
“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,” the league said in a statement. “As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games.”
In response, Stevens has issued an apology taking responsibility and also stating he is embarrassed by the incident:
“What I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it. 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’m grateful to those who accepted my calls. I hope that Mr. Lowry and others impacted by this lapse in judgment understand that the behavior I demonstrated last night does not reflect the person I am or have been throughout my life. I made a mistake and I’m truly sorry. I need to be better and look forward to making it right. I fully accept the punishment administered by the NBA and the Warriors.”
Head coach of the Warriors, Steve Kerr, would also issue an apology to Lowry and the Raptors.
Game 4 is set for Friday at 8 p.m.