Lowry had one of the best playoff performances of his career — the veteran guard scored 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and going 5-of-9 from 3-point range — but he also had a physical altercation with a spectator after diving into the stands for a loose ball at Oracle Arena.
Lowry jumped with full force to try to save possession for the Raptors, and ended up landing in the front row. While this is a rather common occurrence during NBA games, what transpired was not so common, as a nearby fan who wasn’t affected by the fall ended up shoving Lowry for no apparent reason. Turns out, that fan was Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens.
On Thursday, the NBA took swift action as the league banned Stevens for one year and fined him $500,000 for his actions. The ban is effective immediately, includes all Warriors team activities, and will carry 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.”
The Warriors also released the following statement about the 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 Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct. There is no place for such interaction between fans – or anyone – and players at an NBA game.”
Lowry addressed the incident during his postgame interview and said that there’s no place for that kind of behavior in a game. Lowry didn’t stop there, adding he hopes that Stevens never comes back to another NBA game.
On Thursday night, Stevens released a statement apologizing for his actions.
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night at the NBA Finals and am embarrassed by what transpired,” Stevens said. “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 judgement 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.”
With fan conduct caught on camera so easily these days and the league starting to crack down upon it so heavily recently, it wouldn’t be shocking in the least if the league warns courtside fans leading into Game 4 at Oracle Arena on Friday night about possible ejections following unnecessary physical altercations with players.