LeBron James is demanding action against an NBA owner who shoved a player

The King demands change.
The King demands change.
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Update: The NBA has banned Golden State Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens from attending games or team activities for one year. Stevens has also been fined $500,000 for his verbal and physical abuse of Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. Reports indicate that Stevens may be pressured to sell his stake in the Warriors.

LeBron James is calling on the NBA to protect its players.

In an Instagram post James shared today, Mark Stevens—a Golden State Warriors minority owner—can be seen shoving Kyle Lowry, an opposing player who fell into the stands while chasing the basketball during game 3 of the NBA Finals yesterday. Reports say Stevens repeatedly screamed at Lowry, “Go fuck yourself!”

While other fans patted Lowry on the back and tried to help him to his feet, Stevens—in the blue shirt and khaki pants—reached across the seats and pushed the fallen player.

“There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL,” James wrote on Instagram. Stevens “knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for … Something needs to be done ASAP!”

Today the Warriors announced that they have banned Stevens from attending the rest of the 2019 NBA Finals. An investigation by the team is ongoing.

The NBA has dealt with its share of unruly (paywall) and even racist (paywall) fans before, but the incident during game 3 of the NBA Finals was particularly ugly. Stevens—a former partner at Sequoia Capital, a prominent Silicon Valley venture-capital firm—not only showed zero sportsmanship, he did so in way that minimized and quite literally attacked a black player.

It’s easy to imagine Stevens’ apology, that he got caught up in the heat of the moment. But you have to wonder whether he would’ve responded the same way had a white player fallen into the stands. His reaction was venomous.

The NBA Players Association is “closely monitoring” the investigation of the incident by Golden State and the NBA, said executive director Michele Roberts. “The NBPA has previously expressed its support of a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy with respect to verbal and/or physical assaults perpetrated against Players. Stevens’ status as a member of the ownership group does not alter that view.”