Updated Jun 6, 2019

Scoop: Warriors fan who shoved Raptors player is a part owner

Kyle Lowry responds after being shoved by a fan identified as Mark Stevens at last night’s NBA Finals game. Photo of Stevens via S-Cubed Capital website; Game photo: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The person who pushed Toronto Raptors player Kyle Lowry at last night's NBA Finals game was not just any fan, but venture capitalist — and part Warriors owner — Mark Stevens, multiple sources confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The fact it wasn't just a fan but someone tied to the Warriors significantly ups the stakes.

"The fans have a place; we love our fans," Lowry told ESPN. "But fans like that shouldn't be allowed to be in there, because it's not right. I can't do nothing to protect myself."

Sources say the league and team are investigating. Stevens, as well as NBA and Warriors representatives were not immediately available for comment.

  • Stevens joined the Warriors ownership team in 2013, when Vivek Ranadivé bought a stake in the Sacramento Kings and was forced to divest his share of the Warriors.
  • "Mark will prove to be a tremendous asset to our organization as we strive to become one of the model franchises in professional sports," Warriors executive chairman Peter Guber said at the time. "We've managed to build a strong and well-rounded ownership group in which each individual contributes to our success, and Mark is no exception. He's an ideal fit."
  • Stevens was a partner with legendary VC investor Sequoia Capital until 2012 and now is managing partner of his family office, called S-Cubed Capital. He also serves as a director on the boards of such public companies as Nvidia. (Nvidia declined to comment on his actions.)

Update: The Warriors have confirmed that Stevens was the person involved and issued a statement.

Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night 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 Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct. There is no place for such interaction between fans—or anyone—and players at an NBA game.
Mr. Stevens will not be in attendance at any of the remaining games of the 2019 NBA Finals.
— Warriors statement

And the NBA later clarified it is investigating and that Stevens is not allowed at NBA games until that review is completed.

“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. As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games.”
— NBA Statement

Lakers star LeBron James called for stronger action in a tweet, agreeing in a separate tweet that Lowry would be arrested if he went into Stevens workplace and shoved him.

Go deeper: NBA Finals debut new tech experiments to keep fans engaged

For a daily analysis of the world of sports, sign up for our Axios Sports newsletter. Meanwhile, if you want more scoops from Axios chief technology correspondent Ina Fried, sign up for her tech newsletter Login.

Go deeper

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."