Kyle Lowry was on fire Wednesday when he helped his Toronto Raptors dismantle a hobbled Golden State Warriors team in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, 123-109.
The guard would have one of the best games of his NBA playoff career, scoring 23 points, but that wasn’t his concern once the game was over. Lowry was still upset over an incident that happened with a “fan” at Oracle Arena.
According to CBS Sports, during the game, Lowry chased a ball out of bounds and ended up jumping into the first row. For some reason, maybe it’s because Lowry was killing the Warriors, a white man who was not affected by Lowry’s full-body dive into the front row decided to shove the Raptors guard for no reason. The white man was lucky that Lowry didn’t turn around and punch him in his face. Instead, Lowry complained to the referee and the white man was tossed.
Well, it turns out that the white man wasn’t just an ordinary white man with front row NBA Finals tickets; this white man is Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens.
It wasn’t just that Lowry was shoved, he also claimed that Stevens cursed him. The NBA is looking into the matter, CBS Sports reports. The Warriors have decided that they aren’t waiting for the NBA to come down with a decision and announced that Stevens won’t attend any more games for the remainder of the Finals until he learns to keep his damn hands to himself.
This could’ve really turned out bad had Lowry responded, and I can’t make that point enough. But the bigger picture is that at most, an NBA minority owner pushed an opposing team’s player and got suspended for a few games. He will be back in the front row next season, as soon as the season opens because the white guy who pushed Kyle Lowry is rich—richer than Lowry. Mark Stevens is a damn billionaire.
Axios, which initially broke the story, notes that “Stevens was a partner with legendary VC investor Sequoia Capital until 2012 and now is managing partner of his family office, called S-Cubed Capital. He also serves as a director on the boards of such public companies as Nvidia.” And, more importantly, he’s an asshole who got away with shoving a black player because he’s a rich asshole.
King James took to IG to wax on the double standard at play:
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 [cap] I couldn’t and wouldn’t be quiet on this! #ProtectThePlayers#PrivilegeAintWelcomeHere
Never forget that the Malice at the Palace began after a fan hit Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest with ice during a game against the Detroit Pistons. We all know how that went down and we all know who was called thugs and banned for damn near half the year. It’s still considered by many “the most infamous brawl in NBA history,” while the media has dubbed it the “worst night in NBA history.”
All of those involved in the brawl suffered extensive punishments.
The NBA suspended nine players for a total of 146 games, leading to the players losing $11 million in salary. Five players were charged with assault, and eventually sentenced to a year of probation and community service. Five fans also faced criminal charges and were banned from attending Pistons home games for life.The instigators of the Pacers vs. fans fight were banned from all events and had their season tickets revoked.
I’m not good at math but that sure sounds like a lot more than a few games at the end of the season to me.
The team released a statement Thursday regarding the Game 3 incident:
“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 Raptor 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 NBA needs to set the tone here and now that no matter how long your money might be, it doesn’t give fans the right to put their hands on players. Stevens had no right to shove Lowry and had Lowry retaliated, he’d be the one suspended from play, the one that could’ve possibly cost his team a championship. He’d be the one labeled a “thug” and a “punk.” Someone might want to tell Stevens that being a minority owner doesn’t mean that he owns minorities, and Lowry’s right, he shouldn’t be allowed at another NBA game and should lose his minority ownership since he clearly doesn’t know how to behave his thug ass.
Updated: 6/6/19, 5:56 ET: Now the NBA has weighed in and has banned Stevens for one year and fined him $500,000, ESPN reports.
The ban is effective immediately and will carry through the 2019-20 season and postseason, the league said Thursday.
“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.”