UPDATED: 1:16 p.m. EDT — The NBA franchise co-owner who shoved a rival team’s star player Wednesday night was swiftly punished by the league, according to a new report. But considering the flagrant and angry natures of Mark Stevens pushing Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals, it was fair to question whether the punishment was adequate.
According to Bloomberg, Stevens has been banned from attending any more games this season, which, at the most, are only four more contests this month. But after that, it would appear that Stevens’ punishment ends there.
Bloomberg’s report came after NBA star LeBron James demanded Stevens be punished. James sounded off via his Instagram, claiming in part that Stevens “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.”
James hinted that the outrage would be much more widespread of Lowry, a Black man, pushed Stevens, a man whose angry facial expression appeared to be fueled by every ounce of his white privilege when he shoved the player for no good reason.
The Golden State Warriors are seeing their chances of winning a third straight NBA championship grow dimmer right before their eyes. That fact was on display for the world to see Wednesday night when the Toronto Raptors traveled to Oracle Arena to defeat the defending champions on their home court in decisive fashion.
But one person, in particular, had perhaps the most unique vantage point while experiencing that truth when the Raptors’ star guard Kyle Lowry dove into the crowd to save a ball during Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Lowry landed with great force on some of those folks who paid a pretty penny for courtside seats that sometimes can put you right in the middle of game action.
That was the case for one white man who happened to be hit by Lowry’s fast-flinging body. But rather than understand that was a possibility with courtside seats, he reacted with anger and violence to Lowry making contact. “How dare he touch me,” that white man looked like he must have been thinking when he pushed Lowry.
Well, turns out that man has been identified, and his actions may not seem so surprising when finding out he who he is. According to Axios, he is “part Warriors owner” Mark Stevens.
“The fact it wasn’t just a fan but someone tied to the Warriors significantly ups the stakes,” Axios wrote.
Stevens at once displayed some of the most entitled white privilege seen in recent months by shoving Lowry, whose hard dedicated play could threaten the part owner’s pocketbook if the Raptors beat the Warriors.
“The fans have a place; we love our fans,” Lowry told ESPN. “But fans like that shouldn’t be allowed to be in there, because it’s not right. I can’t do nothing to protect myself.”
That commonly known fact to even the average basketball fan was apparently of very little consequence to Stevens, who would later be escorted from the arena that the team he partially owns calls home. Chances are he’s facing a hefty fine from the NBA and major pushback from the league’s players who have as recently as this past season been demanding more protection from overzealous fans who feel entitled because of how close they sit to the game.
Conversely, Stevens’ fellow courtside audience members included none other than recently crowned billionaire Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé, who were the model of grace (except for that one moment where Queen Bey looked like she was going to snatch the wig off of Becky With The Good Hair — spoiler: she didn’t.)
The news came just days after it was reported that the NBA was moving away from labeling those with major stakes in NBA franchises as “owners.” The racial implication of the loaded term in a league of Black players and white owners was finally being recognized by the NBA. Perhaps Stevens didn’t get the memo.