When players step onto an NBA floor during the NBA Finals, fans can expect them to give a level of effort you wouldn’t normally see during a regular season game. Even though they might throw caution to the wind to make a game-changing play, the safety of the players is the league’s No. 1 priority. This year more than in recent memory, there have been several instances where fans have gotten into altercations with players, including one during the Finals series between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors.
Some of those have been verbal, some have been physical, but they always bring up the question: Why do fans think they are allowed to say anything to a player without repercussions?
Russell Westbrook’s interaction with Utah Jazz fans earlier this season was the biggest incident until the NBA Finals. Let’s look at that incident involving a Golden State Warriors minority owner and how a piece of the team may be up for grabs.
Kyle Lowry gets pushed by a Warriors owner
When Kyle Lowry dove for a loose ball in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, he wasn’t expecting to get pushed by someone courtside while having obscenities yelled at him. Lowry immediately got the fan ejected from the game, but it wasn’t until later that we learned the person pushing Lowry was Mark Stevens, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors.
The team acted swiftly by fining him $500,000 and banning him from all home games for next season, but the league constitution could take things a step further.
Constitutional bylaws could
There are two ways Stevens can lose his stake in the Warriors.
The first is three-quarters of the Board of Governors can vote him out. That is what happened with former Clippers owner Donald Sterling after he was caught on audio making disparaging remarks about former players and basketball Hall of Famers.
That may not happen, but the second rule sure can. The NBA’s constitution states that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver “..shall have the power to suspend for a definite or indefinite period, or to impose a fine not exceeding $1,000,000, or inflict both such suspension and fine upon any person who, in his opinion, shall have been guilty of conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the Association.”
Stevens’ shove can clearly count as conduct detrimental to the league, as some fans have received lifetime bans from NBA arenas for their actions. The amount of continuous media coverage, along with outcry from players to the commissioner will have a big impact on whether Adam Silver goes this route or decides to stand by the discipline giving out by the Warriors ownership group.
How much would a piece of the Golden State Warriors cost you?
According to a recent Forbes report, you could be looking at a $180 million purchase if you want to own a piece of the franchise. Signing players such as superstar Kevin Durant can have an immediate positive impact on the bottom line. That was one of the reasons fans and players were so outraged at Donald Sterling selling the Clippers, because he ended up making over $2 billion in the process.
It would be outrageous to see someone with a blatant disrespect for NBA players to receive such a huge profit from his investment, but that’s how things work in these cases.
Will this affect free agency?
We don’t think the sale of ownership pieces will impact on free agency whatsoever, but if Stevens is allowed to stay on as a minority owner, then it could affect how free agents view the ownership group as a whole. This type of decision doesn’t happen overnight, but if the decision on whether or not to force Stevens to sell comes after free agency, it could impact the Warriors’ chances to sell marquee free agents on signing with the team.