NBA bans Warriors part owner after Kyle Lowry push
THE Warriors and NBA are hitting back against one of their own.
The man who pushed Kyle Lowry in game three of the NBA Finals wasn't just any courtside fan, it was Warriors part-owner Mark Stevens.
On Friday (AEST), the team and league slapped Stevens with a year-long ban from all NBA games and Warriors team activities, in addition to a $500,000 fine.
Lowry dove out of bounds to save a loose ball in the fourth quarter and landed on fans in the seats at Oracle Arena. Before he could get up, a man in a blue shirt reached over with his left hand and pushed Lowry's left shoulder while delivering some choice words.
Lowry, among others, had called for a lifetime ban for the fan, though the league did not go that far.
"There's no place for that," Lowry later said. "He had no reason to touch me. He had no reason to reach over two seats and then say some vulgar language to me.
"There's no place for people like that in our league, and hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game."
LeBron James was also furious.
"There's absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL," James wrote on Instagram. "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 of 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 protecting himself.
"I've been quiet 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!"
The NBA said in a statement: "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."
Stevens is venture capitalist who joined the ownership group in 2013, according to Axios, who first identified him as the perpetrator.
"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," the team said in a statement.
"There is no place for the such interaction between fans - or anyone - and players at an NBA game."
The incident did little to slow down Lowry, who poured in 23 points to lead the Raptors to a 123-109 win.