In the middle of the intense Game 3 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors, a tech investor and venture capitalist became the center of attention in a court full of renowned athletes.
Mark Stevens, a former Sequoia Capital managing partner and a part owner of the Oakland-based basketball team fighting for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, shoved Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry during the game. Lowry tumbled onto the courtside seats and collided with fans while trying to save a loose ball. Stevens then shoved Lowry from his area, resulting into an ejection. The Raptors went on to win the playoff game, gaining a 2-1 advantage in the seven-game series.
The NBA and the Warriors thought that the shove was unnecessary, resulting in a $500,000 fine and a one-year ban from games and team training for Stevens. The Warriors claims that Steven’s behavior does not represent the organization’s approach in high standards and professionalism in a statement. The Warriors then issued a sincere apology to Lowry and his team for Stevens’ unfortunate misconduct.
Mike Bass, the NBA Executive Vice President of Communications, shares that Golden State Warriors investor Stevens is a team representative, which means that his actions must uphold to the highest standard and that his conduct is unacceptable in the league. Stevens will remain banned from NBA games until the league finishes its review on the incident. The National Basketball Players Association, also known as the NBPA, reveals that they are waiting for the conclusion of the conflict and the response on the investigation held by the NBA and the Warriors.
Stevens, a managing partner of S-Cubed Capital, is part of the executive board and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors. Stevens is also a board member for Nvidia, a chip company that refused to comment on Steven’s conduct and ejection from the NBA Finals game.
In a public report, Lowry revealed that Stevens shouted harsh words at him repeatedly. Lowry, who was not aware of the Stevens’ identity during the game, shared that Stevens had no reason to shove him. Lowry also stated that Stevens was two seats away from where he stood before the shoving and cursing started. The Raptors All-Star guard believes that the NBA is no place for people like Stevens.
Many notable NBA players came to Lowry’s defense regarding Stevens’ misconduct, including Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar LeBron James. There are also other critics who believe that Stevens should receive a lifetime ban or sell his stake on the team. Meanwhile, Golden State Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson asks the NBA to give Stevens the benefit of the doubt.
Following the punishment, Stevens released a statement saying that he condemns his actions. He also revealed that he reached out to both the Warriors and the Raptors organization, as well as Lowry himself, to apologize for the incident. Stevens acknowledges that he made a mistake and plans to accept the punishment that the NBA and the Warriors will give to him. He also shares that his behavior does not reflect his real personality.