The fan in the Golden State Warriors jersey who shoved and shouted a vulgarity at Toronto Raptors’ point guard Kyle Lowery was a billionaire Harvard Business School MBA. Mark Stevens, who graduated from HBS with his MBA in 1989 and is also a minority owner of the Warriors, aggressively pushed Lowry after the Raptors’ player chased after a loose ball in the second half of Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals on Wednesday (June 5).
The 59-year-old Stevens, who also serves on Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors, was promptly escorted from his courtside seat. But it has not gone unnoticed that this wealthy white republican contributor with a net worth estimated at $2.3 billion took it upon himself to assault a black basketball player unwittingly raising issues of race and class in America. Stevens has since been fined $500,000 by the NBA and banned from attending all NBA games for the next year.
Stevens, who got his start at Intel, put his Harvard MBA to good use, joining venture capital powerhouse Sequoia Capital as an associate after graduating in 1989. He made partner four years later, ultimately becoming one of the five voting partners who were jointly responsible for some of the high-tech industry’s most successful investments, including Google, Yahoo! and YouTube. He left Sequoia in 2012 and is now managing partner at S-Cubed Capital. He seems apologetic for his unruly behavior.
‘WHAT I DID WAS WRONG AND THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR IT’
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night at the NBA Finals and am embarrassed by what transpired. What I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it,” Stevens said in a statement. “Mr. Lowry deserves better, and I have reached out today in an attempt to directly apologize to him and other members of the Raptors and Warriors organizations. I’m grateful to those who accepted my calls. 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. I made a mistake and I’m truly sorry. I need to be better and look forward to making it right.”
While the shoving-and-shouting match has made headlines, it also appears completely out of character for Stevens, who has with his wife, Mary, signed the Giving Pledge, created by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The pledge requires donors to publicly promise to give half of their net worth away before they die. He is also a founding donor to Harvard Business School Online and had been co-chair of his 25th reunion at HBS.
The Golden State Warriors is the NBA team that is an MBA team. Besides Harvard’s Stevens, the team’s main owners, Joe Jacob and Peter Guber, both hold MBAs, respectively from Stanford Graduate School of Business and New York University’s Stern School of Business. Guber, in fact, teaches at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.