USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt breaks down player reactions after NBA Finals Game 3.
OAKLAND, Caif. — Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry wasn’t the only one taken aback when he was pushed during Game 3 of the NBA Finals by Mark Stevens, a part-owner of the Golden State Warriors.
“Oh, my God,” said Norman Colb, former head of the college preparatory school where Stevens’ twin sons attended and where Stevens is a trustee.
Colb said at the Menlo School in northern California he never saw Stevens exhibit the type of behavior that has resulted in Stevens being banned from the NBA for a year and fined $500,000.
“Oh, not in the slightest,’” Colb, who retired in 2013, told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday. “A gentleman through and through.”
Not according to Lowry, who said Stevens used vulgar language during the run-in. Lowry jumped out of bounds in pursuit of a loose ball, and Stevens, who was sitting courtside, pushed Lowry and simultaneously torpedoed his own public image.
A search of public records for Stevens shows only one infraction, a speeding ticket in Oregon in 1993. A Google page for S-Cubed, the venture capitalist group Stevens runs in Menlo Park — about 30 miles south of San Francisco — generated a flurry of new reviews, some profane and some snappy.
“I found the owner extremely pushy,” read one.
Pushing Lowry has obscured the life and reputation Stevens had built up to now. His is a 59-year-old venture capitalist, a husband and the father of three children. He is worth $2.3 billion, according to Forbes, and has publicly pledged to donate half of his fortune. Surely enough to pay that $500,000 NBA fine.
He joined the Warriors ownership group in August 2013 after Vivek Ranadive bought a stake in the Sacramento Kings and was forced to divest his share of the Warriors. Although he’s been forced out of his courtside seat for a year, he retains visibility as co-founder of the the United States Olympic Committee’s Technology and Innovation Fund — launched to support U.S. athletes in the 2020 Summer Games.
His passion for sports dates back to at least the late 1970s, when Stevens attended USC. In a story published in 2017 by the university’s alumni magazine, Stevens said his Saturdays as an undergraduate were dedicated to football and “the kind of crazy” guys in his fraternity house, Phi Kappa Psi.
How crazy? Stevens did not respond to requests for comment made by voicemail and email.
Thank you! You’re almost signed up for
Keep an eye out for an email to confirm your newsletter registration.
But this figures to be a disorienting time for Stevens, who double-majored at USC in electrical engineering and economics and later got an MBA from Harvard.
In 2015 he was asked to speak at a graduation ceremony for USC athletes. (He has donated tens of millions of dollars to the school.)
Last year, entertainment mogul Peter Gruber presented Stevens an award at Culver City High School, the Southern California school from which he graduated and his rags-to-riches narrative began.
He is the adopted son of parents who did not attend college, and his first job was at Jack in the Box, according to Forbes.
Who exactly is Mark Stevens? The video of him pushing Lowry contrasts sharply with a photo on the Facebook page of Stevens’ wife, Mary.
In this photo, taken at a luncheon, Mark and Mary Stevens are smiling as they clutch the hands of the Dalai Lama.
Contributing: A.J. Perez.