The Los Angeles Lakers star and philanthropist wrote a lengthy post on Instagram Thursday, denouncing the recent behavior of Mark Stephens, a venture capitalist who joined the team’s ownership group as an executive board member in 2013.
“There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL,” James wrote in a caption below a video of the incident. Stephens can be seen shoving Lowry after the Raptors guard fell into the crowd as he pursued a loose ball heading out of bounds – something considered an ordinary occurrence at NBA games.
“When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor,” James wrote before suggesting that Stephens should especially be held accountable for his actions as a part-owner.
He later added, “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.”
Stephens was escorted out of Wednesday night’s game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland after he got physical with Lowry. The Warriors later issued a statement apologizing to Lowry and the Raptors, saying Stephens’ behavior “did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization.”
Later on Thursday, the Warriors and the NBA delivered a joint statement announcing that Stevens had been banned from all NBA games for a year and fined $500,000.
Lowry told the Associated Press in an article published on Thursday that Stephens had also made a “vulgar” comment to him during their encounter.
“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.”
James also argued on Instagram, prior to the announcement of Stevens’ ban and fine, that Lowry might have been subjected to wider scrutiny and harsher punishment had he retaliated against Stephens.
“Just think to yourself, what if @kyle_lowry7 would have reacted and put his hands back on him,” he wrote. “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.”
He added that he has been quietly watching every NBA Finals game, but that he “couldn’t and wouldn’t be quiet” on this matter.