Golden State Warriors minority investor Mark Stevens was banned from NBA games for one year and handed a $500,000 fine for pushing and swearing at Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.
The league announced the punishment Thursday for the billionaire after the team apologised for his actions.
"Mr. Stevens' behaviour last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organisation," the Warriors said in the statement.
"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. There is no place for such interaction between fans – or anyone – and players at an NBA game."
The NBA also issued a statement critical of Stevens, then later announced that he is prohibited from attending games through the rest of this year's Finals plus all of the 2019-20 regular season and post-season.
"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," the league statement read.
The altercation between Stevens and Lowry occurred with about 10-and-a-half minutes left in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The Raptors won 123-109 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Lowry crashed into the courtside seats as he tried to keep a ball in bounds, and Stevens gave Lowry a push as he fell on top of the fans.
Stevens was ejected from the game.
In his post-game news conference, Lowry said Stevens also had choice words for 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, and hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game."
Stevens is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and was a partner at Sequoia Capital, which invested in companies that include Google. He now owns S-Cubed Capital. He and his wife, Mary, are benefactors of his alma mater, Southern California, and have given at least $50 million to the school.
Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.3 billion.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James addressed the issue on social media Thursday before the punishment was announced, adding his criticism of Stevens.
"There's absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL. There's so many issues here," he began his lengthy Instagram post.
"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 on 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. …"
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