Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird. Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell. Chris Paul vs. Scott Foster.
One of these is not like the others. For the NBA, it is inconvenient (at best) that a future Hall of Famer has a long-running feud with one of its most prominent referees. Paul is in his 19th season, Foster his 29th, and while they share a love of golf, do not expect them to hit the links together anytime soon.
Weeks after Foster ejected the Golden State Warriors guard with , NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that the league has communicated with both of them, although he did not specify when these conversations took place.
The message is simple: Chill out, please. From an interview with SiriusXM NBA (subscription required):
"You have there, as you said, two veterans who are the best at what they do. Scott is one of the most respected NBA officials, one of the highest-rated NBA officials, which is why he referees in our Finals games. And, of course, Chris, the track record speaks for itself. The way you handle that, at least the way we've tried to handle that is talk to both of them, and say, 'The expectation is you're going to be professional.' And deal privately with the two of them and just say, 'Guys, whatever the bad blood is between you two, you don't have to be friends but you gotta both go out and do your jobs.' And so that's my expectation going forward."
“[Chris Paul and NBA Referee Scott Foster] don’t have to be friends but you both have to go out and do your jobs”.— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) December 6, 2023
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver explains to @TermineRadio & @JumpShot8 his expectations with Paul and Foster moving forward
Full Interview: https://t.co/B3xtNlJthk pic.twitter.com/NdU9iYMUb3
Paul told reporters Wednesday that, since the ejection in November, no one from the league has reached out to him about his beef with Foster.
"Usually sometimes they'll call, interview, something like that," he said. "Ain't nobody texted, called or nothing since it happened."
He said that he'd heard about Silver's comments via a text from a family member. Asked about his reaction, he paused for several seconds, then said: "I don't know. I was -- I haven't talked to Adam, Byron [Spruell, president of league operations], nobody. You know what I mean? I talked to Byron, but I had to call him. He ain't call me. So yeah. I don't know, it's weird. Yeah."
Asked if he expects anything to change, Paul said: "I don't know. Ain't nothing ever changed, you know what I mean, as far as that."
Famously, Phoenix Suns. After the most recent incident, which was the first time Foster had ever ejected him from a game, Paul said that, back when he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, he had a meeting "with [Foster], my dad, Doc Rivers, [former referee] Bob Delaney and all that." Paul said that there was "a situation with my son," and "it was a whole thing, man. It's been a thing for a while."before a win in the first round of last season's playoffs with the
Silver would surely prefer this to not be a thing at all. Paul and Foster might never patch things up the way friends Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley did, but players and refs aren't supposed to be buddies anyway. The bar these veterans have to clear is pretty low: Don't give people a reason to talk about their strange history instead of, you know, basketball.-turned-