Mark Stevens, the Golden State Warriors Co-Owner, just gave the team the worst public relations black-eye it could have on the way out of Oakland, and to San Francisco. Stevens, sitting courtside during NBA Finals as the visiting Toronto Raptors were playing the Dubs, decided to shove Raptors player Kyle Lowry as the NBA Star fell into a chair a good person-width away from him. Here’s what it looked like on video:
The action has dominated social media, and led to calls for Mark Stevens to be slapped with a lifetime ban from NBA Games. (Eventually, The NBA banned him from all games and all Warriors team activities for one year and fined him $500,000.) And while the impact of what Mark Stevens did has not been felt by the Warriors organization just yet, it will be. It’s the symbolism of a rich, white, tech billionaire who’s an NBA team co-owner shoving a black player on an NBA team, who’s also a noted republican donor. In the post-Donald Sterling NBA, that’s not sitting well with a lot of people.
In this update, its reported that Stevens may be forced to sell his shares of the Warriors after the season:
🏀 Multiple sources close to the Golden State Warriors tell me Mark Stevens, the minority owner who pushed Kyle Lowry, will likely be forced to sell his shares before the start of next season … #NBAFinals #KyleLowry
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) June 6, 2019
Plus, it comes as the Warriors leave black Oakland for white San Francisco – arguably, America’s symbolic tech capital. And who is Mark Stevens, anyway?
Who Is Mark Stevens, Warriors Co-Owner?
Just who is Mark Stevens? According to his LinkedIn Profile (where he and I share at least one contact), his first list after Managing Partner at S-Cubed Capital is as Warriors Minority Owner and Executive Board Member (and has served the team in that capacity since 2013). The legacy tech investor received his MBA at The Harvard Business School, his MS in Computer Engineering at USC, as well as his B.S in Electrical Engineering and Economics, also at USC.
Mr. Stevens was managing partner in famed tech venture capital firm Sequoia Capital (and during his tenure invested in firms that are now house-hold names like Google, PayPal and LinkedIn) and is now managing partner at S-Cubed Capital, called a “a private family office investment firm” by tech who’s-who list Crunchbase. Stevens extensive bio with S-Cubed Capital reads as follows:
Mark A. Stevens is the Managing Partner of S-Cubed Capital. He is a special limited partner and former managing partner at Sequoia Capital, a global venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA. Mark joined Sequoia in 1989 as an associate and became a partner in 1993. Prior to Sequoia, he was employed at Intel Corporation from 1982 to 1987 in a variety of sales positions. He began his career as member of the technical staff at Hughes Aircraft Company from 1980 to 1982.
During his tenure at Sequoia, Mark served as a director of the following companies: Aspect Development (public, merged with i2 Technologies, AtWeb (acquired by Netscape/AOL), Beceem (acquired by Broadcom), Billpoint (acquired by Ebay), Commquest (acquired by IBM), Mobile Peak (acquired by Spreadtrum), MP3.com (public, acquired by Vivendi Universal), NVidia, Pixelworks, Quicklogic, Stratum One (acquired by Cisco), Summit Design (public, acquired by Mentor Graphics), Terayon Communications (public, acquired by Motorola). He was also responsible for Sequoia’s successful investments in Documentum (public, acquired by EMC) and Quickturn (public, acquired by Cadence Design).
Mark currently serves on the Board of Directors of Nvidia, Quantenna, Innovium and Second Spectrum. He has served on the Board of Trustees of USC since 2001 (co-chair of the Investment Committee and member of Finance and Executive Committees). He is also a member of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Board of Councilors and is the founder and chairman of the USC Stevens Center for Innovation. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Harvard Business School. Mark is a Trustee at Menlo School and serves as co-chair of its current $100M capital campaign. Since 2010, he has been a part time lecturer for a sales management course at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business (GSB). Mark is also a minority owner and Executive Board Member of the Golden State Warriors, as well as a trustee of the United States Olympic Committee Foundation.
Mark Stevens is a past President of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists (WAVC), past chairman of the Stanford University DAPER Venture Fund and past chairman of the Harvard Business School Entrepreneur of the Year Award dinner.
Mark earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and B.A. in Economics (both magna cum laude) from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1981, an M.S. in Computer Engineering from USC in 1984 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1989.
Mr. Stevens hobbies include basketball, college football, skiing, fishing, vegetable gardening, and reading.
I should add that Mark Stevens had one venture exit: Embark a startup that “creates mobile apps for mass-transit riders worldwide that gives users information about routes and stops in different cities,” according to Crunchbase.
Mark Stevens is married to Mary Stevens and the couple lives in Atherton, and have three children. Stevens net worth is listed at $2.3 billion according to Forbes. By any measure, Mark Stevens, the man who shoved Kyle Lowry, represents the heart of tech in the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s one of the financial engines that has made the region what is it, for better and for worse.
As Warriors Leave Black Oakland For White San Francisco, Mark Stevens Shove Of Lowry Raises A Racist Image
While there’s nothing in Mark Stevens online background that directly points to racism, the terrible reputation the San Francisco Bay Area Tech Community has in investing in and hiring blacks, as well as the numerous incidents of institutional racism in Silicon Valley, and tech’s impact on Bay Area cost of living, forcing many people of color out of the region or into homelessness, form a foundation upon which Stevens’ actions have to be evaluated.
And regarding tech’s connection to the Warriors and Mark Stevens, Pitchbook, the online publication of venture capital investments noted:
The world of VC loves the Golden State Warriors. Former Kleiner Perkins managing partner Joe Lacob is the team’s majority owner. Another part-owner with VC ties, Mark Stevens, reportedly played an unfortunate role in Wednesday’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals. At home games, the first few rows of seats are always dotted with investors and entrepreneurs wearing polo shirts and Patagonia.
Mark Stevens Was A Major Republican Donor Before Becoming Warriors Co-Owner
Moreover, Mr. Stevens political donations, save for one to Obama for America in 2012, point directly to the Republican Party and now-U.S. Senator Mitt Romney. Overall, his activity slowed dramatically after joining the Warriors – recently, Mark Stevens donated to the campaign of Colorado Republican Representative Scott Tipton.
Mark Stevens Kyle Lowry Shove Points To Warriors Stunning Lack Of Blacks In The Front Office
Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle actually pointed to this problem by doing what she and her publication normally does, ignoring the issue but showing by photos that it exists and is a problem:
Gold standard PR staff. pic.twitter.com/M2Lz5XJ6u9
— Ann Killion (@annkillion) June 7, 2019
And once again Ann Killian fails to note the absence of black men. Just like the NFL and black quarterbacks.
So happy I started my own FUNDED media company, newest blog https://t.co/2g13UREuxV. Sadly telling the real racist and sexist story is left to black owned media.
And while the Warriors say the organization prizes diversity, this recent staff photo shows a lack of African Americans, and with the only visible African American man, a former player, the legendary Al Attles.
Overall, Mark Stevens has a lot to answer for in why he pushed Kyle Lowry. It’s a bad look for the Warriors and for the San Francisco Bay Area Tech Community.