Wealthy people like to buy expensive seats so that they can sit courtside at professional basketball games. And when I say ‘courtside’, I am not kidding. They are right on the side of the playing area right near the coaches and substitute players. Why they would want to do this is not clear to me since you can probably see better from a few rows back in the raised seats. You also run the real risk of a 250 lb player barreling right into you as they chase a ball that goes out of bounds and causing you serious injury. Apparently the tickets warn you of that possibility but perhaps the desire to be seen on TV is enough for people to take that risk.
But being that proximate to the action is not enough for some of these jerks who think that they can meddle in the game (like rapper Drake) and now we have Mark Stevens, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors who abused Kyle Lowry, an opposing team player, who had crashed into the crowd.
Corbin Smith says that Stevens’ behavior is emblematic of what is wrong with the billionaire class.
Last night, while he was diving for a loose ball, Lowry found himself crashing into the front row, a common occurrence in the NBA—especially in the heat of a wild playoff row. While lifting himself up, an older, grey-haired man in a blue Warriors polo shirt took the opportunity to shove Lowry’s arm and curse at him:
One source claims Stevens told Lowry, several times, “Go fuck yourself.” https://t.co/ijLgQqgONA
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 6, 2019
Mark Stevens will be shamed into apologizing in the coming days, presumably. His PR team will train him for an interview, where he will try to say all the right things to make himself look good, to shore up his reputation with the public—his peers probably won’t give a shit—and try to maintain his ownership stake in the Warriors. Don’t believe him. That unhinged guy who felt entitled to shove someone because he’s a rich dick who can afford the buy-in that gets him courtside seats at a Finals game is the real dude, the manifestation of all the dudes who wield wealth like an Infinity Gauntlet to impose their will on the lives of working people. He has no respect for Kyle Lowry or for anyone outside his bubble.
The NBA has issued a statement that it has banned Stevens from all games while they review the incident. Meanwhile Axios, which broke the Stevens news, reported that he’s been banned from Oracle Arena for the remainder of the NBA Playoffs, and might be forced to sell his stake in the team. But even if that happens, he’ll still get a payout and make a tidy profit on his investment, seeing how much the team’s value has skyrocketed in the wake of this run of titles. It ends up not mattering, in the wash—money can get you a car, a new computer, a nice bottle of wine, but only wealth, true wealth, can buy you the ability to act like a giant shithead in front of millions of people and experience no real material consequences for your behavior.
Yep, that is exactly right. Rich people think that they have earned the right to be jerks.
Stevens has been banned from NBA games for one year and fined $500,000 but the feeling is that this is not enough. There are calls for him to be banned for life and to be forced to sell his stake in the team.