The NBA has banned Golden State Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens from games and team activities for one year after Stevens pushed Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the Finals. The league also fined Stevens $500,000 for "pushing and directing obscene language" toward Lowry.
The league said the ban is effective immediately and carries through the 2019-20 NBA season, including the postseason.
During the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's 123-109 win over the Warriors, Lowry tried to save the ball and crashed into courtside seats, landing near Stevens. As he was getting up, Stevens appeared to push him away with his left arm.
Lowry complained to the referees thereafter and they ejected Stevens from the game, The Associated Press reported. In a postgame news conference, Lowry said the fan also cursed at him.
"There's no place for that," Lowry 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. Hopefully, he never comes back to an NBA game."
The Warriors said in a statement Thursday that Stevens "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 Raptor organization for this unfortunate misconduct," the statement added. "There is no place for such interaction between fans – or anyone – and players at an NBA game."
On Thursday, Las Angeles Lakers star LeBron James sounded off on Instagram saying Stevens knew exactly what he was doing. "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," he wrote.
The National Basketball Players Association, the players union, said they are monitoring the situation.
In March, the Utah Jazza fan at the center of a verbal altercation with Oklahoma Thunder star Russell Westbrook, who was fined for his role in the incident. Westbrook said he was triggered by comments he considered "racial" and "inappropriate."