Golden State Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, who shoved the Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors during a Finals game on Wednesday, has been fined $US500,000 and banned from games for a year, the Warriors and the NBA said on Thursday.
Lowry tumbled into the front row of the crowd in Oakland while diving for a loose ball during the fourth quarter and Stevens, who was sitting courtside, used one hand to push the player as he was getting back on his feet.
Guard Lowry later said that Stevens also "said a couple vulgar words" to him. Stevens, 60, was escorted out of the game and Lowry called for him to be banned from all future NBA games.
"Investor Mark Stevens has been banned from attending NBA games and Warriors team activities for one year and has been fined $US500,000 ($NZ755,447) for pushing and directing obscene language toward the Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry," the NBA and the team said in a statement.
Stevens late Thursday issued a formal apology saying he was embarrassed by his "lapse in judgment" and said he accepted the punishment.
"What I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it," he said.
"Mr Lowry deserves better, and I have reached out today in an attempt to directly apologize to him and other members of the Raptors and Warriors organizations. I'm grateful to those who accepted my calls.
"The behavior I demonstrated last night does not reflect the person I am or have been throughout my life. I made a mistake and I'm truly sorry. I need to be better and look forward to making it right."
The Warriors earlier in the day issued their own apology to Lowry.
"Mr Stevens' behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization," the Warriors said in a statement.
"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.
"There is no place for such interaction between fans - or anyone - and players at an NBA game."
Stevens, who joined the Warriors' ownership team in 2013, is a billionaire venture capitalist who was a partner with Sequoia Capital until 2012 and is now a managing partner of S-Cubed Capital.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr echoed the team's statement.
"I will also personally apologize to Kyle and to the Raptors. That's unacceptable," he told reporters.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James took to Instagram to call for the league to take swift action against Stevens prior to the announcement of the fine and the ban.
"There's absolutely no place in our beautiful game for that at all," James said.
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There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL. 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 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. 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 protected himself. I’ve been quite 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! #ProtectThePlayers #PrivilegeAintWelcomeHere
James ended his lengthy post with the hashtags #ProtectThePlayers and #PrivilegeAintWelcomeHere.
Game Four will be held in Oakland on Friday, with the Raptors leading the best-of-seven series 2-1.