Mark Stevens Vs Kyle Lowry, WTF?

Mark Stevens, the minority investor in the Golden State Warriors who assaulted Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals isn’t a small man. At about 6’1″ and 175 lbs. He’s relatively fit for a man in his late fifties. He probably works out, maybe does a little Pilates, surely gets in some golf from time to time. He is a rich man, a billionaire who along with his wife donated $50 Million to his alma mater USC. In college, he was known to get a little rowdy with his frat brothers at the Trojan football games but never had a reputation for violence.

Kyle Lowry is not a big man for a professional basketball player, also 6’1″. He’s a bit heavier than Stevens at 196 lbs but appears slimmer because his weight is mostly muscle and he gets a whole lot more exercise. Not a billionaire like Stevens, he is in the middle of a 3-year, $90 Million contract so he isn’t doing badly.

When Lowry went crashing into the stands chasing a loose ball during Game 3, one wonders what possessed Mark Stevens to push Kyle Lowry, a younger, stronger man who odds are could whip Stevens ass? When you sit if the expensive front row seats as Stevens did, you assume some risk because players end up in the stands relatively often. You want to be close to the action, there’s a chance the action will come to you. The tickets fan purchase have a disclaimer waiving liability. As part owner of the team, Stevens of all people should know that. So what made Stevens think he was within his right to push Lowry, who landed a couple of people away, Stevens had to cross over people to get to Lowry. In what world does an older, less fit man, physically go after a professional athlete in his prime?

Let’s consider what would happen if Kyle Lowry were the one who assaulted a fan, who just happened to be part owner of the opposing team. When Stephen Jackson of the Indiana Pacers went into the stands after a fan who threw and hit one of his teammates with a beer. He was suspended for thirty games and fined $3 Million. Kyle Lowry at a minimum would have been ejected from the remainder of The Finals, been fined millions of dollars and been suspended (without pay) well into the next season. He might well have faced criminal assault charges to boot, not to mention fierce tweeting from the Commander-In-Chief who wouldn’t miss the opportunity. Stevens was banned from attending Warriors games for a year (he’ll have to watch them at home on the big screen, the horror) and fined $500K. That was 1/100th of the amount he gave away to USC.

Back to what Stevens was thinking, surely he was certain there would be no retaliation. Was it because he was rich? Because the security forces in the Oracle Arena worked for him? Because he had gotten used to power having been rich since he was in his thirties? Or just maybe because of the race of the people involved, even being rich in his own right didn’t keep Kyle Lowry from being assaulted in public view on national television.

I don’t claim to know what was in Mark Stevens mind. I do know that the penalty wasn’t severe for him. As time goes by he may even brag about the incident at cocktail parties, how he went after a professional athlete who didn’t dare do anything in return. Stevens did eventually issue a written apology. Among other things he said, “I hope that Mr. Lowry and others impacted by this lapse in judgment understand that the behavior I demonstrated last night does not reflect the person I am or have been throughout my life.” Without knowing for certain his motivation, his behavior reflects exactly who he is.

What Kevin Durant Could Learn From Kyrie Irving and LeBron James

The grass is rarely greener on the other side, a lesson Kevin Durant may learn should he decide to take his talents to New York or pretty much anywhere. Durant’s two-year $61.5 million contract is up and most agree he’ll opt to become a free agent and test the waters. One might reasonably ask, “why would he leave a situation where he would be the odds on favorite to win two or three more NBA titles with the clearly best team in the NBA?”

The reason most give is that Kevin Durant isn’t getting the credit he’s due as an individual, surrounded by four other All-Star’s; Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, and Draymond Green. His two years with Golden State has led to two titles and two NBA Finals MVP Awards. How exactly is he not getting enough credit?

One issue, of course, is money. Kevin can go somewhere else and get a max deal. There’s nowhere else he can go and be surrounded by the talent his present team has. Kyrie Irving got tired of dwelling in LeBron James shadow. Despite being part of the last NBA championship team not residing in Oakland, CA while hitting clutch shots and being a major factor. There’s no telling what their Cleveland team might have done in the future had Kyrie not bolted to Boston where he could be, “the man.”

LeBron James has been “the man” on every team he’s been on since middle-school. Even when playing with fellow All-Star’s Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He carried the responsibility for whatever happened, win or lose. LeBron went to the Lakers, hoping to restore glory to a legendary franchise, molding a third team into his image. Beset by injuries including to LeBron, this Laker team won’t even make the playoffs.

Midseason, Kyrie Irving called LeBron to say he was sorry for the way things worked out. His stint in Boston where he had to be the leader, taught him what he hadn’t learned previously. LeBron is likely wishing he’d gone to a team with more maturity and talent. Both might wish they’d stayed together in Cleveland?

Kevin Durant when at Oklahoma City, shared top billing with Russell Westbrook, a man with his own opinion as to who was the team leader. He can go to New York or elsewhere and be the man, winning might be another thing entirely. Championships in the NBA are a rare thing. As Kyrie is learning, having already won is no guarantee the magic is easily recaptured. Even LeBron is finding that out.

Trying to win three championships in a row is a grind. The motivation to get through the regular season when everyone is after your crown is tedious. What’s even more tedious is losing. LeBron will be watching the playoffs on television this year. At least he’ll get an extra month of rest this offseason. What would he be willing to give for another opportunity to strive for another ring? Kyrie’s team is in the playoffs but is nowhere near reaching his potential unless they make a dramatic turnaround. Durant’s team is tied for the lead in the Western Conference and the odds on favorite to win it all again. Think about it, Kevin!