Early in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Kyle Lowry was shoved by somebody sitting courtside at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors have apologized for the actions of part-owner Mark Stevens and confirmed that he was the man sitting courtside who pushed Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.
The NBA announced Thursday that Stevens has been banned from NBA games and Warriors team activities for one year for his conduct and fined $500,000. Stevens's ban is effective immediately and will extend through the 2019-20 NBA 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," a statement from NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said. "As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the ultimate decision to ban Stevens for one year as opposed to a lifetime came from his previous record as a non-problematic fan and his attitude after the incident.
Early in the fourth quarter of Toronto's 123-109 victory, Lowry dove in the stands to save a loose ball. As he was getting up after landing on some fans, Stevens shoved him, prompting Lowry to immediately ask the officials to intervene.
"Mr. Stevens' behavior last night did not reflect the high standards we hope to exemplify as an organization," the statement reads. "We're extremely disappointed in his actions and, along with Mr. Stevens, offer our sincere apology to Kyle Lowry and the Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct."
The team added it is still investigating the situation further.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday that Stevens's behavior was "unacceptable."
"I personally apologize to Kyle and the Raptors," Kerr said according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com.
Ina Fried of Axios was the first to report Stevens as the man who pushed Lowry.
After the game, Lowry said Stevens also used "vulgar language" during the incident, and added, "Hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game."
Prior to the league's announcement, LeBron James also chimed in on the episode in a lengthy Instagram post saying, "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!"
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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
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts also issued a statement on the issue before the league banned Stevens, saying, "We are closely monitoring both the Warriors' and the League's continued investigation into this matter and anxiously await their conclusions and response. The NBPA has previously expressed its support of a 'zero-tolerance' policy with respect to verbal and/or physical assaults perpetrated against Players. Stevens' status as a member of the ownership group does not alter that view."
Stevens has been a part-owner since 2013 when he purchased a share of the team from Vivek Ranadive when he became Kings owner.