Mark Stevens, a venture capitalist who lives in Atherton and is an investor in the Warriors, today (June 6) was banned from the NBA for one year and fined $500,000 for shoving Toronto guard Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
“Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standard that we hope to exemplify as an organization,” the Warriors said in a release. “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.”
Lowry dove into a row of courtside seats in an effort to save a loose ball. Stevens, wearing an NBA-issued credential, was seated about two spots away from where Lowry landed. Stevens shoved Lowry in the upper body, and Lowry said he repeated a vulgar phrase to him about four times during the brief incident.
It’s unclear how large a stake Stevens has in the Warriors, and if the team will allow him to remain part of the organization. The team’s media guide lists Stevens — a former partner in Sequoia Capital — as a member of the six-person executive board.
Forbes has Stevens, 59, on its list of 2,153 billionaires worldwide, saying he had amassed a fortune of $2.3 billion.
For more than two decades, he served as a partner in Sequoia Capital, the VC firm known for backing tech companies in their infancy such as Apple, Google, Cisco and Instagram. Today, he’s the managing partner of S-Cubed Capital.
According to his S-Cubed Capital biography, Stevens began his career as a member of the technical staff at Hughes Aircraft from 1980 to 1982. He moved to Intel Corp. from 1982 to 1987, holding a variety of sales positions. He joined Sequoia Capital in 1989 as an associate and became a partner in 1993.
Stevens is a trustee of Menlo School and is co-chair of its $100 million capital campaign. He has also served on the USC board of trustees and has been a major donor to that school.
Since 2010, he has been a part-time lecturer for a sales management course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
He bought his stake in the Warriors in 2013.
“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,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Thursday.
Lowry said Stevens has not reached out to him to apologize.
“I don’t know him. I don’t care to know him,” Lowry said. “He showed his true colors at the time. And you show what you’re really about in that time and at that moment. … No, you showed what you really are.”
“Obviously, when you see the video, it’s pretty clear who was in the wrong,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said, who added that he doesn’t personally know Stevens.
Lowry scored 23 points in Toronto’s 123-109 victory. The Raptors lead the series 2-1 going into Friday’s Game 4 at Oracle Arena.
Today’s series of events began with an apology from the Warriors and an announcement that Stevens would not be allowed at any more games in this series. Players like Los Angeles Lakers standout LeBron James said that wasn’t enough, and James reached out to Lowry personally to offer his support. Hours later, the NBA came out with the decision to fine and ban Stevens.
The NBA’s ban covers all league games and also forbids Stevens from being part of any team events.
“If Kyle was to then hit back, a lot more than a fine would have then happened to Kyle,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league has “redoubled” efforts to make sure that fans understand what conduct is appropriate and what isn’t.
“We have had lots of conversations directly with the players’ association, the players, because absolutely we want them to feel that they’re in a safe environment,” Silver said last week in Toronto when the NBA Finals were beginning. “And we don’t want them to be distracted during the game or think that they have to take matters into their own hand.”
But Raptors star Kawhi Leonard said more needs to be done.
“We have to do a better job, the NBA, just of making sure these fans don’t come in and think they can just touch guys and hit them,” Leonard said. “That’s a little extreme.”
Lowry said fans who sit inches from the sideline or baseline should understand that they may get in on the action. Dwyane Wade famously fell on entertainment icons John Legend and Chrissy Teigen as they sat courtside for his final home game with the Miami Heat two months ago; luckily in that case, all three parties could laugh about it afterward.
This was no laughing matter, and the Raptors were stunned to learn that Stevens was part of the Warriors’ organization.
“I was shocked,” Toronto guard Danny Green said. “And a little appalled.”
From staff and wire reports