Source: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty
After the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals, the hot button topic was the unfortunate event that happened in the 4th quarter when Kyle Lowry got shoved by an unexpected fan after diving into the stands to save a loose ball. That “fan” turned out to be Mark Stevens part owner of the Golden State Warriors.
It was something in a lot of ways shocking. We’ve seen fans lay their hands on players before or enter play on the sporting grounds but never an owner of a professional sports team. Yet Stevens thought it was necessary to put his hands on a player. Rightfully so he got escorted out of the building.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver had an opportunity to make an example of Mark Stevens for his foolish behaviour, instead, the punishment didn't fit the crime.
Let's be honest missing one season and being fined $500,000 wasn't a strong message. Heck, we’ve seen players get fined for the dumbest things. Clippers coach Doc Rivers got fined a few weeks ago while complementing Raptors all-star Kawhi Leonard for his play on the court. Rivers surrendered 50,000 dollars, which seems ludicrous. Though the NBA wanted to send a message to the whole league when it came to tampering. Which Doc's comments didn't sound like tampering, just paying respect to a baller. Players also have gotten fined just for calling out an official on a call they didn't like. Dumb.
Now many people would say that Drake's antics have been over the top at times and at times, but Drake isn't saying anything vulgar to the players. Same on the other side, players love yapping and talking trash back to Drake. The Toronto rapper knows a bunch of NBA players and hangs with them off of the court. Drake isn't shoving or laying his hands on the player during the game. He might be part of the show too much at times but he's not harming the players. It's all fun and games on both sides of the coin. Putting his hands and massaging Raptors Coach NickNurse might have crossed the line, but again that's his coach of the team he's representing. Spike Lee was like that back in the '90s but he wasn't putting his hands on players. Drake is the ambassador of the Raptors and gets paid to do his job with the team. If you want him to quiet down then beat the Raptors.
Back to Stevens, if it was any normal guy on the court the repercussions would have been more severe. A lifetime ban wouldn't be out of the question if it was me or you. Why did Kyle Lowry deserved to be touched when he's making a basketball play or any other play associated with the game? There's no right answer to that question and only a bunch of excuses. Basketball is the only sport where you can be part of the action, where you can interact with players, referees and coaches. Everyone needs to keep their hands to themselves.
Now I know what some of you guys are going to say "it was only a shove, no big deal". What if Lowry swung back and missed the rest of the series? It could possibly cost the Raptors a championship and would be a black eye on the sport. We’ve seen what happened at Auburn Hills many many years ago and the major consequences players received after that brawl. Colin Cowherd said it, LeBron James said it, and former player and current analyst Jay Williams said it, Mark Stevens should have gotten a lifetime ban. Just because you have stocks with the team doesn't mean you’re above everybody else and the players. Stevens should have the same accountability as everybody else watching the game. Cowherd even went a step further saying that the NBA should have Stevens ownership stake with the Warriors forcibly sold. Again I agree with that punishment too. Luckily Kyle Lowry told officials and security got that clown out of the building.
Kyle Lowry told reporters Thursday afternoon that Mark Stevens also said vulgar comments directed at him during the exchange, which makes the situation worse. It's just a bad look for Stevens and the Warriors.
Silver looks bad for the slap of the wrist punishment. He's a great commissioner but he didn't step up for the players like he should have. What Stevens takes away from the Raptors and Warriors and puts the attention solely on him and his actions. Stevens is now the story which is unfortunate because there are so many intriguing stories going into game 4. However, it's time we focus back on the NBA finals and not this clown of an owner. A lifetime ban would have been the best solution, in this case. Adam Silver and the NBA should’ve done better.