Chris Paul vs. Scott Foster: How does NBA fix their apparent beef?

This post originally appeared in The Bounce, a daily NBA Newsletter from Zach Harper and Shams Charania. Sign up here.

Whether or not NBA Commissioner Adam Silver publicly admits it, the league has an officiating problem. Stars are routinely being ejected in horrendous fashion. Giannis Antetokounmpo was a recent example against the Pistons. Days later, Nikola Jokić was ejected in Detroit. Now that I think about it, maybe the NBA is just trying to help the Pistons win?

Either way, the NBA’s most glaring officiating issue remains between Warriors guard Chris Paul and referee Scott Foster, which has been the case for years. Paul candidly discussed it at length following a recent ejection by Foster. Last Wednesday, Paul and Foster argued about in-game officiating. Paul used some choice language toward Foster, who sent the future Hall of Famer to the showers.

Here is what Paul said to the media: 

  • About their latest flare-up, Paul explained, “It’s a situation with my son” and believes refs shouldn’t use techs to get their point across.
  • The 19-year veteran said, “It’s personal.” Years ago, there was a meeting with Paul, his dad, Foster, Doc Rivers and former referee Bob Delaney.

At one point, after the ejection, you can see CP3 saying Foster said something about his son. If true, how is the NBA not doing something?

Tom Haberstroh dug up the numbers. CP3’s teams are 3-17 (.150 win percentage) in the playoffs when Foster officiates, dating back to 2007. Bad luck? Maybe. An ax to grind? Considering Paul’s squads are 73-56 (.565 win percentage) in the playoffs without Foster reffing, I’d say so.

Commissioner Silver has to address something when it’s becoming personal enough for referees to allegedly mention a player’s family. Some teams or players have bad luck with certain officials, but Foster seems to be infamous for all the wrong reasons.

If CP3’s claims are true, should Foster be allowed to officiate games involving him? With gambling embedded in the NBA at this point and the league’s desperation to laud officiating at every public turn, Silver and the league office must give us more than cliché public admiration for referees. They can’t run from this problem anymore.

(Photo of Chris Paul and Scott Foster: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

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