olden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens was fined $500,000 ($AUD716,527) and banned from NBA games or team activities for a year for shoving and cursing at Toronto guard Kyle Lowry in an NBA Finals game, the league announced on Friday (AEST).
But the punishment doesn’t go as far as Lowry wants, the Raptors playmaker saying he wants Stevens out of the league for his actions in Toronto’s 123-109 game-three victory Wednesday.
“A guy like that shouldn’t be part of our league,” Lowry said.
The league and club bans were immediate and will last through the 2019-20 NBA playoffs.
Lowry scored 23 points as Toronto seized a 2-1 lead in the series, but it was when he dove after a loose ball on the sideline in the fourth quarter that sparked the incident.
After Lowry tumbled into the courtside seats, he was shoved and cursed at by Stevens, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist sitting in an adjacent seat. Lowry complained to a referee and Stevens was eventually removed.
“He had no reason to touch me,” Lowry said after the game. “He had no reason to reach over two seats and then say some vulgar language to me.”
The NBA issued a statement calling Stevens’ moves “beyond unacceptable” and banned him from NBA games.
The Warriors issued an apology from the club and Stevens, saying they were “extremely disappointed” in his behavoir and that he was prohibited from returning to NBA Finals games.
“I think more should be done,” Lowry said. “He’s not a good look for the ownership group they have.
“A guy like that showing his true class, he shouldn’t be part of our league. There’s just no place for that.”
The league has forced out owners before, notably former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after racist remarks were made public in 2014. He was banned from the NBA for life and the club was sold to Steve Ballmer.
Lowry thanked Warriors players and LeBron James, who all praised Lowry for his composure in handling the incident when he could have responded with force and cursing himself.
“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 NBA statement said.
“As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games.” “Mr. Stevens’ behaviour last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organisation,” the Warriors’ 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 organisation for this unfortunate misconduct.
“There is no place for such interaction between fans, or anyone, and players at an NBA game.”
– ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ –
“I will also personally apologise to Kyle and to the Raptors,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s unacceptable.”
Lakers star James, who played against Golden State for Cleveland in the past four NBA Finals, tweeted that the Warriors’ response was insufficient after seeing their statement.
“Ok cool but still ain’t enough!” James tweeted. “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).”
Stevens bought into the Warriors in 2013, purchasing the stake in the team that had belonged to Vivek Ranadive.
Ranadive had to sell the shares he had originally bought in 2010 that made him the first Indian-heritage NBA investor so he could purchase the rival Sacramento Kings.